It’s the final episode! And what an episode. With a season that’s been filled with numerous highs and more than a few lows, I wonder how they’ll be able to cap it all off?
Spoiler warning: This recap is filled entirely with spoilers. Definitely watch the episode before reading!
Finally, the House Stark sigil has been replaced on the image of Winterfell in the opening title sequence! This makes me happier than it should. Holy moly.
We begin at King’s Landing on the day of Cersei and Loras’ trial at the Great Sept of Baelor. We see all our friends, Cersei, Tommen, Margaery, and the High Sparrow, all getting ready for the day and pondering what their fate is to be. As people pour into the Great Sept of Baelor, we see Cersei getting ready, with a costume like a military commander. In Loras’ portion of the trial he confesses his sins and commits to all of his crimes, and becomes one of the Faith Militant in order to stay alive. Unfortunately, this means that it’s basically the end for House Tyrell – with no more male heirs (in the show), the House is well and truly dried up, with no one else to further their lineage, as a male heir by Margaery and Tommen would be a Lannister, not a Tyrell. Margaery and dad Mace Tyrell are horrified as the Seven-Pointed Star is carved into his forehead. Elsewhere, Tommen goes to leave his chambers, but FrankenMountain stops him.
I was quite surprised by the score in this scene – haunting, melodic piano music that initially seemed out of place judging by composer Ramin Djawadi’s previous work on the series. However, this music was perfect for the tone of the scene, and to build the suspense for what was to come.
Margaery then confronts the High Sparrow regarding the mutilation of Loras. The High Sparrow assures her that Loras will be freed once Cersei’s trial is complete. Margaery ponders to the High Sparrow – how come Cersei isn’t at the Great Sept of Baelor? She clearly knows something everyone else doesn’t know. Margaery suggests that they all get out of there ASAP. And indeed, in a particularly incendiary moment, as Grand Maester Pycelle is stabbed to death by little child spies and Lancel Lannister-turned-Sparrow finds a whole shit tonne of wildfire stored underneath the Great Sept, a small candle burns out and flame dips into a pool of wildfire, which turns into a giant green blast – burning everyone in the Great Sept to a crisp – the High Sparrow, the Faith Militant, the Tyrells (Margaery, Loras and Mace), Kevan Lannister, all of Cersei’s enemies. Boom. Amazing. Cersei’s plan for vengeance all along has been realised, and she’s taken everyone out in one go. The wildfire also takes out a good portion of the city and people surrounding the Sept. Cersei sips her wine and appears extremely pleased with herself. Unfortunately, Tommen has also just seen his wife murdered via explosion from afar.
Later, Cersei pours wine all over Septa Unella’s face, who tortured her last season and made her do the walk of shame. Cersei confesses all of her own crimes and says she does everything she does because it feels good in some way, including murdering all of the Sparrows in one go via big explosion. You go, Cersei. Cersei intends for Septa Unella to die. Septa Unella says she’s ready to meet the gods, but Cersei says she won’t be dying for a long time. Cersei lets the FrankenMountain into the room. I’m not sure if this was an implied rape scene or not, since FrankenMountain did appear to be disrobing, but I would have preferred to see Septa Unella’s face get smashed in like it was rumoured all throughout this season.
Back to Tommen, we see a very picturesque shot of him looking out across the city at the burning Great Sept of Baelor in shock, knowing that his wife has been killed. This shot is impeccably framed. We then see Tommen remove his crown and jump out of the window to his death. Therefore, King Tommen is now dead, and now all three of Cersei’s children have died, as per the prophecy that we learned about in episode one of season five.
At the Twins, the Freys are celebrating their successful allegiance with the Lannisters, and successful retaking of Riverrun. We get some nice banter between Jaime and Bronn. Walder Frey sits with Jaime and brags about his accomplishments, but Jaime reminds him that he hasn’t really fought any battles. Jaime Lannister delivers a verbal smackdown to Walder Frey, and reminds him that even though he thinks he’s a great conqueror, if the Lannisters have to come and clean up the Frey’s mess every time they make one, they’re not really that powerful at all. Zing.
Back at King’s Landing, Cersei is shown her son’s dead body. Unfortunately, she cannot place him in the crypts at the Great Sept of Baelor with his siblings and grandfather, as she burned the Sept down only minutes prior in this episode. Instead, Cersei suggests burning Tommen’s body and burying his ashes where the Great Sept of Baelor once stood. This is one impact of her decisions that Cersei appears not to have anticipated. Although Cersei does not appear to be that upset at Tommen’s death; perhaps by now she has accepted that the prophecy from the beginning of season five is true, and that Tommen was destined to die no matter what.
In a surprising break from the forward motion of the episode, we get to see Sam, Gilly, and Little Sam heading to Oldtown. Our friends go to the Citadel, and Sam informs them that he’s ready to become a maester. Unfortunately, there’s been an administrative error whereby the Citadel was not informed of the change of Lord Commanders at the Night’s Watch, and they do not recognise Jon’s letter to the Citadel which suggests that Sam be trained as a maester. Whilst they sort it out, Sam can go to the library to have a look around, but Little Sam and Gilly have to wait like peasants in the foyer because no women nor children are allowed inside. Sam goes to have a look at the library, and we are shown an excellent example of poor CGI that looks like a cutscene in a computer game from 1996. There’s a nice inspirational shot of Sam looking at the library, a place he’s wanted to visit his whole life, but I can’t help but feel this scene took away from the amazing momentum that the episode had been building thus far.
I get frustrated with Sam and Gilly’s story because it often seems like it drags the momentum of other, more interesting storylines. But after reflecting on this episode, I started thinking that scenes like watching Sam become super hyped about the amazing amount of ancient tomes in a library is important to remind us of the little people in the story. Surely Sam and Gilly are being shown for a reason, and I’m looking forward to seeing what part they have to play next season.
We see a white raven flying to Winterfell. Melisandre and Jon Snow are having a chat about life and family circumstances, when Davos appears. He encourages Melisandre to confess that she burned Shireen Baratheon alive last season. She says it was the only way for Stannis to win his battle, but ultimately Stannis didn’t win, and all she is is a big murderer. Davos is amazing in this scene; he confronts Melisandre angrily about her wrongdoings. Davos asks Jon to execute Melisandre, and Jon asks if Melisandre has anything to say. Mel says she’s ready to die, but would prefer not to as Jon needs the Lord of Light to show him the way forward in fighting the war against the undead. Jon chooses to banish Mel instead of executing her, and sends her South. If she comes back, Jon will hang her as a murderer. But this is annoying because hanging isn’t the Stark way, beheading is. Anyway, Melisandre heads South, and that’s the last we see of her for this season.
Later, Sansa joins Jon atop Castle Winterfell. Jon has prepared the main bedroom of the castle for Sansa, as she is the Lady of Winterfell and as a trueborn Stark she is entitled to it. Jon acknowledges that Sansa’s help in calling for the Knights of the Vale was necessary, but warns her against trusting Littlefinger. Luckily, Sansa says she doesn’t trust him, and apologises for withholding the truth from Jon. Jon says they need to be honest with one another. After all, a white raven from the Citadel has arrived, marking the official start of Winter in Westeros. Winter is well and truly here, and the Starks are prepared for it.
And then, just as I was enjoying myself, we’re back at Dorne. The worst. It seems that Lady Olenna Tyrell has arrived, wearing all black to signify that she is aware of the death of her son and grandchildren in King’s Landing. Olenna takes those dumb Sand Snakes down a few pegs in a great example of her sharp tongue and an excellent performance by Diana Rigg. In a surprise moment, Varys arrives all the way from Meereen – and pledges through three small words that the Martells and Tyrells will have Targaryen support in defeating the Lannisters. So that’s now four fairly significant Houses joined together, including the Greyjoys, against the Lannisters, working for Daenerys to take Westeros for her own.
I take issue with Varys’ sudden ability to cross huge expanses of sea and land so quickly though. Either Varys is riding on eagles like in Lord of the Rings or he is a secret time traveller. I may or may not take issue with this twice this episode.
In Meereen, Daenerys tells Daario that even though they are totally in love, he’ll have to stay in Meereen and keep the peace whilst she conquers Westeros. Tyrion and Daenerys then have a chat. Daenerys admits that she is frightened to go to Westeros to take back what is rightfully hers. Daenerys appears upset to have left Daario, but admits that she is even more frightened that she felt no emotion in saying goodbye to him. Tyrion reminds her that she has everything she’s ever wanted – armies, ships, dragons – in order to conquer Westeros. Tyrion believes in Daenerys, and Daenerys makes him her Hand of the Queen, fashioning him a little badge like the one Hands of the King have worn throughout the series. This moment was quite heartwarming, but another moment that stopped a bit of the forward momentum of the episode.
Back at the Twins, Walder Frey is eating and drinking like a big pig. A woman arrives and serves him some pie. Walder asks after his sons. The woman tells him that they’re right here. He asks again where they are, as they don’t appear to be in the room. The woman gestures to the pie, and Walder Frey realises to his horror that he’s eating his own sons. The woman removes her face to reveal Arya Stark, who cuts Walder Frey’s throat, not unlike the manner in which her mother’s throat was cut in season three. Arya smiles as Walder Frey bleeds out and dies.
Yesssssss. Not bad. What’s next for Arya, though?
Back at Winterfell, Sansa is visiting the weirwood tree that the Starks used to visit back in happier times in season one. Littlefinger comes to chat to Sansa, and confesses that everything he does is in order to obtain his eventual goal – sitting on the Iron Throne as King. Additionally, he wants Sansa by his side, presumably as his wife and queen, which is creepy. He goes in for the kiss but Sansa rejects his advances, which may have been a bad idea for her own safety. However, Littlefinger lets her know that in the aftermath of the Battle of the Bastards, Littlefinger has openly sworn his loyalty to House Stark. But can we trust him? He tries to sow the seeds of doubt between Sansa and Jon, implying that she is the rightful ruler in the North as a trueborn Stark. Sansa walks away, leaving Littlefinger to his own Machiavellian thoughts.
Uncle Benjen Stark drops Meera and Bran off somewhere in the North. Unfortunately, Benjen is stuck in the North due to being half man and half white walker, and cannot return to see his Stark family. Benjen does say that he will fight against the white walkers on the side of the living, though, for as long as he can. Nice. Bran then informs everyone that he is now the Three-Eyed Raven, and he has one more vision to see. The Tower of Joy.
We return to Bran’s vision of young Ned Stark at the Tower of Joy. Young Ned enters the Tower to see his sister, Lyanna Stark, bleeding on a bed having just given birth. She appears to have lost a lot of blood, and is dying. In her dying breath, Lyanna murmurs something to Ned about protecting the baby from someone, and we hear her saying “Promise me, Ned” before she dies. Bran hears and sees everything. We then see the face of a cute little baby, which fades to the face of Jon Snow at Winterfell. What does this mean? Ned Stark is officially not Jon Snow’s father. Lyanna Stark is his mother, but who is his father?! I wonder if his father is the person everyone on the internet has predicted since the books heavily implied it back in the day!
In terms of Bran’s story though, I’m still wondering about how this will play out in the long-term. Bran is now the Three-Eyed Raven, but how does this relate to the rest of the story, given that the previous Three-Eyed Raven (and the criminally underused Max Von Sydow) was just sitting in a tree cave for hundreds of years? I suppose we’ll have to wait to find out.
At Winterfell, Jon Snow is holding court with all the men who have pledged fealty to House Stark. Jon informs everyone that Winter has well and truly come, and is predicted to be the coldest one in one thousand years. He says that the true enemies are the undead beyond the Wall, and that the Night King brings them South. Little badass Lady Lyanna Mormont gives another amazing and brutally honest speech, and calls all those who have pledged their Houses to action. Lord Wyman Manderly and Lord Glover stand up for Jon Snow, and apologise for backing House Bolton. All the Lords of the Northern Houses stand up and cry out, “King in the North”, to show their support for Jon; in a moment that recalls season one, where Robb Stark was proclaimed King in the North. Sansa smiles, but notices Littlefinger, who continues to watch her. Her smile disappears. Thus ends the Stark storyline for this season.
Lady Lyanna Mormont is one of my favourite things about this season so far. She is amazing. As for the Stark storyline, this was one of the most satisfying moments of the season. House Stark is well and truly back in the game, but please don’t let Littlefinger ruin everything.
Jaime Lannister and Bronn ride to King’s Landing, where they spy the exploded and smoking remains of the Great Sept of Baelor. They have arrived just in time to see Cersei at the Throne Room in the Red Keep. Cersei goes to the Iron Throne, and is crowned Cersei of House Lannister, First of her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms. Cersei is now Queen of Westeros, being basically the only person left in line for the throne. Holy shit. I, for one, did not expect this. Cersei sits on the Iron Throne, and she and Jaime’s eyes meet before she looks to her subjects. Unfortunately, it is likely that everyone in the room really hates her and probably wants her dead. It is significant that it’s night outside when Cersei is crowned – it’s likely that she wasted no time in snatching the crown and getting the coronation done on the same day that Tommen died.
This has amazing implications for season seven. I, for one, love and adore Cersei Lannister because she is so damn evil, such a complex character, performed to perfection by Lena Headey. I honestly look forward to every scene with Cersei, and now I am super hyped for season seven to see what she gets up to. If Lena Headey doesn’t score an Emmy nomination for her performance this season, I won’t be happy about it.
Back in the East, we see an entire fleet of ships – the Greyjoys on dragon-helmed wooden beasts of ships, Dothraki, the Unsullied, with Daenerys’ three dragons flying overhead. There are a lot of ships with the Targaryen sigil, but I also spotted Greyjoy, Tyrell and Martell ships in this massive fleet. Daenerys, Tyrion, Missandei and Varys (how did he get there? Time travel again?) are all on the one ship, and this massive fleet of those loyal to House Targaryen has one destination – King’s Landing, where Daenerys can finally reclaim the Iron Throne. Finally she’s getting out of the East, it’s only taken her six whole seasons!
Season six is now finished, and what an emotional rollercoaster. I can’t wait to re-watch the season and formulate my feelings and opinions on the season as a whole, rather than figuring out my feelings about individual episodes each week. Sure, my favourite Stannis Baratheon is dead forever (officially), and there was some absurd time travelling of characters this episode, and there was no LSH this season (or apparently ever, but I still hold out hope). But
I really enjoyed this episode, apart from some moments where the good momentum was spoiled by scenes that dragged a bit more than they should have. It’s clear that all of the episodes have made some interesting moves throughout the season, with each character getting a little bit closer to their respective goals. With season seven expected to be split up into two parts of seven episodes each, I’m wondering how this is all going to play out, particularly with the Lannisters versus the new Targaryen fleet and army, and the Starks and their friends versus the undead in the North. I really can’t wait.
What did you guys think of this episode? Of the season? How amazing is Lyanna Mormont?!