No amount of fan theories could have prepared us for Sunday’s Game of ThronesSeason 6 finale.
HBO used all 69 minutes to give us all heart palpitations and high blood pressure, but it perfectly sets up what may be the show’s final season next year.
These are not only the most jaw-dropping moments, but also the ones that set up the growing war that will unfold in Season 7:
Mad Queen Cersei
Cersei is nothing if not predictable. If she feels like she’s losing ground, she’ll pick the nuclear option to get her way. This time, she outdid herself.
Did she mean to also blow up the entire Tyrell line? She may have disliked them, but the High Sparrow was their common enemy. (R.I.P. Margery, hero to all crafty women.) It almost seemed like the fallout the death of her beloved Tommen didn’t even phase Cersei. She is on her way to power, and revenge, and squashing down her enemies absolutely.
We were left to wonder through much of the episode who could possibly ascend to the Iron Throne, with all of Cersei’s children dead, and all of Robert’s brothers dead. But seeing Cersei sit upon the Iron Throne, probably the deepest of her heart’s desires, has put Westeros in even worse shape than before; it seemed even written on Jaime’s face when he walked in the throne room. It all sets up perfectly for someone more popular to take the throne, but how much damage will she do by then?
Arya fillets a Frey
As much as we found Arya’s sojourn to Braavos pretty insufferable, it seems to brought her assassin powers up to speed. Walder Frey is the most insufferable person still living in Westeros or he was, until Arya tore open his throat.
Aside from being unsure on how Arya got back to the Riverlands so quickly, this also puts her squarely back in Westeros for the action. There are only a few names remaining on her list, including Queen Cersei.
Sansa’s internal struggles
Sansa is the person responsible for the victory in the Battle of the Bastards, for which Jon Snow does thank her for. It’s too bad nobody else really knows it.
While Sansa doesn’t seem to be as power hungry as others, seeing her face as first Lyanna Mormont, then Wyman Manderly and Galbert Glover, pledge their swords to Jon had to sting. She’s seen enough of men trying to run her life, trying to control her or use her as a pawn in their own games. She seems fed up.
But the one person who could help her the most in this situation is the one she should probably stay far away from: Littlefinger. She’s already told Jon she doesn’t trust him, and then he comes on strong in the Godswood. While she’s firm with her rebuff, will she have to enlist his help to remain independent, and will it cost her that same independence?
The reveal of Jon Snow’s mother
The show finally confirmed the biggest piece of Game of Thronesspeculation: that Lyanna Stark was Jon Snow’s mother, and Ned Stark wasn’t his father. This would make his father Rhaegar Targaryen, the son of King Aerys. It also makes Jon an heir to the Iron Throne, and Daenerys his aunt.
Of course, Jon doesn’t know this. The viewers are educated thanks to Bran’s visions, after he followed his younger father into the Tower of Joy. While he may never know of his true lineage everyone in that scene is now dead he could if he reunites with Bran.
Dany amasses friends and rides the Narrow Sea
Varys has been very busy. After we see The Spider in Dorne, he enlists the aid of the Martell house, now run by the Sand Snakes, and the Tyrells, since Lady Olenna is the last of that line. Though it does benefit her to have three of the seven great houses of Westeros at her back (including the Greyjoy children), they all represent a rogue’s gallery of outcasts. The Sand Snakes murdered the rightful rulers of Dorne and Princess Myrcella, and Yara and Theon are fleeing their uncle. But their bulk represents a large force against the dwindling backers of the Lannisters.
While Dany’s claim to the throne may be the best, the amount of bloodshed we can still expect is beyond the pale. Her lack of emotion in the last few episodes implies she’s not ready to stop until she gets what she wants no matter the cost.
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