7 Reasons We Loved the Game of Thrones Finale: The Winds of Winter

Whoah! A lot happened in what I’m going to call the best episode of television ever, and yes I am aware that I dubbed last week’s Game of Thrones episode the best ever, but I didn’t think it was possible for them to improve upon themselves, but boy did they do it. I’m a fairly cynical person but even I could not deny the mastery that was this episode – from the writing to the direction to the score – this is one for the ages.

This week’s episode saw the death of many characters that have been around for seasons, saw two new monarchs being named, and new alliances being made. I don’t know about you but I’m excited than ever for Season 7.

Here are the 7 best moments from an almost flawless episode – The Winds of Winter:

1. Cersei’s massacre at King’s Landing

Cersei is not a character that we often root for but this episode we could not help but admire her artistry as she orchestrated one of the biggest massacres in the history of the show. Before we even get into her actions we have to bring to light the amazing opening sequence of each of the parties getting ready for the trial with a score that only helped to bring across the gravity of this sequence of events, which you can listen to here. Just like last week I have to take my hat off both to the composer Ramin Djawadi and to the excellent direction by Miguel Sapochnik. 

Not willing to attend her trial, Cersei uses the wildfire under King’s Landing to blow up the Sept of Baelor which had the Sparrows, the Tyrells and plenty of other innocent bystanders inside and around, also with the help of The Zombie Mountain, Qyburn and his little birds, she orchestrated the murders of Kevan Lannister, Grand Maester Pycelle and Lancel Lannister. And then there was poor sweet Tommen, who after seeing his mother kill his wife and causing the fire in King’s Landing.

So if you are counting that means almost everyone that we know in King’s Landing is now dead except Cersei, Jaime, The Mountain and Qyburn, and after all her children has been killed Cersei gets her dream of sitting on the Iron Throne (this is a very common dream), but if you remember way back in the beginning of season 5, Cersei received a prophecy from Maggy the Frog that foretold that she would have three children that would die before her, and she would be Queen until a younger and more beautiful queen comes along. Cersei assumed this to be Margaery but since her death, it’s looking more and more like it will be Daenerys who will play this foe to Cersei. It will be interesting to see this dynamic next season.

In all the glory of this sequence of events, and Cersei’s battle scene of her own, I am glad that even to the end Margaery was still the smartest person in the room. She sniffed out Cersei’s plan and tried to get herself and her family out before it was too late as the door had already been locked. They gave us the best possible death scene for her character – until the end she was outsmarting and fighting.

 

2. Arya finally scratched another name off her list

Arya had been missing since her departure from the House of Black and White in episode 8, but this episode had her reappearing in The Twins, and doing the MOST damage. She donned the face of someone else and masqueraded as a chambermaid at a banquet that the Freys were having to toast their victory at claiming Riverrun from the Tully’s.
With her new face, Arya prompted killed two of the Frey brothers and cooked it in a pie that she fed to Walder Frey before she showed him her true face, announced who she was and slit his throat the way that they did to her mother. That is the Arya we’ve been waiting to see, the one that used the skills that she’s learned frolicking around to off some of the people who have wronged the Starks. The baked-in-the-pie storyline was done a bit differently in the books but I loved the fact that Arya got dish revenge onto the ever-horrible Walder Frey.

There were a lot of things that did not make sense in this scene, how Arya got into The Twins, when did she learn how to extract a face and use it correctly, when did she have time to make the pies etc, but I almost don’t care because of the jubilation I felt when she appeared before Walder Frey.

3. Jon being named the King of the North – Winter is here

There has always been rumbles that Jon will succeed Robb as King of the North because that was largely what Robb wanted – especially since he thought Bran and Rickon were killed by Theon, Sansa was married to a Lannister, and Arya was missing. But even without that Jon has more than proved himself as a good leader and warrior and a good person that others can look up to. I don’t think any argument I make for Jon can be akin to the rousing and inspirational speech given by little Lyanna Mormont who pulled out all her receipts to back Jon in his role.

As a lifelong Sansa fan, I do feel that she should have been a contender for the North monarchy, but I don’t think they got the memo that down south the women are doing all the ruling from Cersei in King’s Landing to Ellaria in Dorne and of course Daenerys and Yara. A Jon and Sansa team up could work up well if they trusted each other and worked together, but the big challenge to this partnership is Littlefinger and his influence over Sansa, I hope that next season we will witness her outsmarting him and fully taking on the Margaery role, especially as he has now revealed his hand as to what he truly wants.

4. Sam and that Oldtown library

I don’t think there was ever a scene where I related with Sam more, as when he sees the vast library in Oldtown. We haven’t seen much of Sam and Gilly this season other than his poignant visit to his parents’ house where he stole his ancestral sword, but I’m looking for the continuation of his arc next season, about what he will learn in Oldtown and how that will help in the great battle with the White Walkers.

5. The Tower of Joy

This is the scene that many have been speculating since the books have been out has finally been confirmed. After the first part of the young Ned scene in episode 2, we knew that by rule of law they had to give us the conclusion before the season ends, and they delivered.

We see young Ned enter the room with a dying Lyanna, and a woman (nurse?) hands him a baby, Lyanna whispers to Ned what the baby’s name is and that he must promise her that he will look after him before the camera goes from the baby to Jon’s face. So if we weren’t sure before we are sure now that Jon is the product of the liaison between Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen and not in fact Ned’s bastard son. Because remember what Stannis said in Season 5, ‘that isn’t the Ned Stark way’.

So why did Ned keep Jon’s true parentage a secret? Especially since it caused a rift between him and his wife, Catelyn? Well after Robert’s Rebellion, Robert held a huge grudge against the Targaryens because Rhaegar is the one who took Lyanna (his betrothed) away from him. So much so that he ordered the death of Rhaegar’s other young children – Rhaenys and Aegon – which he had with his wife, Elia Martell. If he was aware that Rhaegar had another son, and one with Lyanna at that too, Robert would certainly have called for the baby to be killed, which would be against what Lyanna wanted and also not ‘the Ned Stark way’. Out of everything this shows how honorable Ned was, that he kept his promise to his sister even though it challenged the other relationships in his life, and he always treated Jon like his own son.

6. Olenna + Dorne + Varys = <3

Fresh off the Tyrell massacre in King’s Landing, Olenna made her way down to Dorne to meet with Ellaria and give the Sand Snakes some much-needed sass. The decremation of the Tyrell line is what prompted probably one of the greatest alliances in Westeros since Robert’s Rebellion, between the Tyrells, the ‘Martells’ or Sands and Varys (who made a cool entrance in Dorne) against the Lannisters.

Even though Cersei might be sitting on the Iron Throne at the moment, it will not be long until all her actions come back to haunt her with Olenna and company heading her way.

7. Daenerys setting sail for Westeros

The final scene of the season is of Daenerys sailing to Westeros and we see all her allies such as her usual suspects – Missandei and Grey Worm, the Unsullied, the Dothraki, her new hand of the Queen, Tyrion, Varys, the dragons and of course her new allies – the Tyrells and Dorne. Season 7 can’t come any sooner.

Before she leaves Meereen, Daenerys makes sure to keep the city in check by leaving Daario Naharis and the Second Sons in charge of the city, and the former Slavers Bay, now called Dragon Bay. It’s bittersweet as he clearly loves her, but he is a weakness of hers and she makes the decision that it will easier for her to make a marriage alliance in Westeros without him there.

Another moment that really touched my heart was when Daenerys gave Tyrion a hand of the Queen pin, just the emotion between the two characters and how Emilia Clarke and Peter Dinklage played it, increased the gravity of this moment. Here is Tyrion, this exceptionally smart and witty character that has been underestimated and understated by most people especially his family and her is someone who truly appreciated him and what he is capable of. It’s excellent growth for both characters.

Thanks so much for following along with us during season 6 of Game of Thrones. Winter is indeed here, so let us know in the comments below what you loved or hated about this season.

 

Caryn Welby-Solomon

Marvel/Game of Thrones Writer

Writer covering Marvel TV and Movies and Game of Thrones. Lover of books, TV, comics and films. Member of Ravenclaw, sworn fealty to House Martell, and worships at the altar of Peggy Carter.

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