All the Septas, Septons and the public attending the trial, but most importantly, the High Sparrow, the Faith Militant, Kevan Lannister and almost the entirety of House Tyrell (Loras, Mace and, sadly, Margaery). Tommen, (cue King’s Landing joke). Lancel Lannister discovered Wildfire up close. Grandmaester Pycelle. Septa Unella is wined, shamed and Mountained. Walder Frey and his two sons. Littlefingers’ advances towards Sansa are pretty dead in the water too. Dany and Daario’s fling is as well.
Most Impressive Death?
The Sept blowing up whilst Cersei was sipping a goblet of wine, killing everyone inside. Although that gets a run for its money from Arya demonstrating her cooking and killing skills.
Only Pycelle’s sex worker. There was other serious business that required clothes.
Quote of the Week
Cersei Lannister: [to Septa Unella] I drink because it feels good. I killed my husband because it felt good to be rid of him. I fuck my brother because it feels good to feel him inside me. I lie about fucking my brother because it feels good to keep our son safe from hateful hypocrites. I killed your High Sparrow and all his little sparrows, all his Septons, all his Septas, all his filthy soldiers, because it felt good to watch them burn.
The Mad Queen
Marieke: How else to start than with the new Queen on the Iron Throne? She indeed went for the much anticipated wildfire method, choosing only to use the stash hidden beneath the Sept. In her new black attire, with a touch of Tywin to it, she watched it all unfold whilst sipping her precious wine. Cersei had the last, violent word. She not only took down the High Sparrow and his sparrow army, but also most of House Tyrell. She never liked Margaery anyway. The opening scene was chilling and full of suspense. The score to which the slow scenes of getting dressed and ready to go to trial were set to, has been praised with reason. I recommend opening and listening to the link here while reading this piece.
In the end Cersei did sacrifice Tommen, unknowingly. Having FrankenMountain prevent Tommen from leaving the room, he sees it unfold from the distance just as his mother did. After being told his wife was there, he chose his windowsill for his final fall. This was an unexpected and highly shocking moment (the way the camera lingered onto the window and mostly the way he fell!), but completely in line with Tommen’s personality, as he didn’t leave his room or eat when his mother and wife were held captive. He deserved better. But he simply was not up for the task. Cersei gave in just as easily as her son. Whilst her only motive in life was to protect her children and fight Maggy the Frog’s prophecy, she soon realised that the throne was all she is able to get. And that was not even her motive at first. She actually looked rather unfazed by Tommen’s suicide. She even took away Jaime’s opportunity to say goodbye to him by having Tommen burned and his ashes buried at the crypt immediately. Cersei is in ‘IDGAF’ territory now and is more dangerous than ever. Jaime’s look at the end might mean the twincest romance is over.
Her scene with Septa Unella showed her cruelty in full form. I admit I cheered a little, because Unella was incredibly annoying. Being wined and shamed by Cersei was just revenge, but setting the Mountain on her showed Cersei’s name should not rhyme with mercy. SHAME. SHAME. SHAME.
Danielle: I have to say, as much as I anticipated Tommen not making it to the end of the season, I didn’t expect either the manner of his ‘exit’, or for the aftermath to culminate in Cersei’s coronation. What a cool, calm and calculated madwoman she really is now. And not just any madwoman. She’s one with a crown on her head and a large army protecting her as well The Mountain and her new Hand, Qyburn, now surely surpassing King Aerys in the crazy stakes. We both knew she was going to take the nuclear option, but this was something else. It seems Margaery figured that out a tad too late, and so did The High Sparrow. That look between them when they realised that something was about to happen was chilling, as was the sight of wildfire lighting up Lancel’s eyes after his excruciating crawl to blow out those candles after being stabbed. Cersei doesn’t just want to crush her enemies, she wants to make them suffer too and isn’t afraid to allow innocents to become collateral damage in the process. Furthermore, as much as I wasn’t a fan of Septa Unella, leaving her in a room with ZombieMountain actually turned my stomach. All of this doesn’t bode well for the future of King’s Landing, even if it does look like either Dany or, after that look at the end of the episode, even her own brother, Jaime, could prove to be the nemesis that is so desperately needed to neutralise her mounting hubris. My money is on her ‘little brother’.
It has to be noted that Lena Headey absolutely stole this episode. From the way she rocked that astonishing I’m-in-mourning-but-I-can-still-look-fabulous-and-regal dress, to the smug poise she exuded as her dictator in the making. Consequently, in my opinion, she needs to be in contention for an Emmy this year.
Marieke: As much as Brienne changed Jaime, at least when he is around her, it seems his talk with Walder Frey also struck a massive chord. He does not want to be like Walder, just dishing out orders, being Kingslayers (Jaime has always felt guilt, Walder wears it like a medal), getting old like Walder does, relying on other people and boasting about events he did not actually take part in himself. Whilst Jaime’s pages in the book that recounts knight’s honourable deeds were not that full yet, this is not the road he wants to take. There is more honour in him, or enough to have this conversation question everything. It is no wonder he took off after Walder annoyed him. With his sister being on the throne now, will Jaime eventually become one of the good guys? If the Hound could make amends, surely so could Jaime. Brienne is calling! (Although she has to make giant babies with Tormund, so he might be too late).
It is clear Jaime does not want the Lannisters to send their regards with the Freys anymore. Walder Frey isn’t even capable anymore. The servant girl who was looking at Jaime all the time, annoying Bronn because Jaime doesn’t have to do anything to get female attention, had a trick up her sleeve. Or a face to pull off. After making sure that Walder know his sons were in the room, more accurately in the pie, she de-masked and introduced herself to him. I said last week that “[…] maybe the urge for the viewer to see Walder Frey dead died down a bit after the biggest baddie met his end in the last episode, and because the Red Wedding seems like it happened in another lifetime.” I was wrong. It was satisfying to see Arya serve a dish best baked in an over on 180°, as well as chilling to witness how much she enjoyed it. Even though slicing throats is becoming her trademark now (Meryn Trant too, eventually after some stabbing..), it was a perfect fit because that is how her mother was killed in the exact same room. Braavos has changed the youngest Stark girl.
Danielle: The conversations Jaime had with both Bronn and Walder Frey were extremely illuminating as to where his head is at right now. When Bronn asked him if the girl who was eyeing him up (who turned out to be Arya) wasn’t blonde enough for him, it was obvious the question solicited thoughts about both Cersei AND Brienne. Likewise, the evident irritation on his face when the elderly head of the Frey household suggested they had something in common, i.e. they’ve both killed Kings to get what they wanted, betrays the dissatisfaction he has with his current situation and status. He also didn’t share Walder’s glee that The Blackfish had been killed. Why? Because in spite of them being on opposite sides, he still respected him and was likely envious of his reputation as a great warrior. That much was evident in the parlay they had earlier in the season. His title, Kingslayer, is something that he can no longer even pretend to be proud of and the only person who now respects his sacrifice and his nobility is Brienne, the woman now sworn to defend one of his enemies. This dilemma should be very interesting for him going forward, and is the reason why I think he’s one of the most compelling characters in the show right now. Particularly as he realised after returning to King’s Landing that the woman he defended so vehemently to Edmure Tully as someone who’d do anything for her children no longer exists.
Marieke hits the nail on the head regarding Arya. She’s a changed young woman, which is hardly surprising after the unrelenting misery and danger she’s been subjected to. Nevertheless, this transformation into a trained, unsettlingly calm assassin is a worrying one, particularly because she seems to enjoy killing her enemies as much as Cersei does. As much as Walder Frey deserved to go, going all Titus Andronicus on him seems a little like overkill. It was rather amusing that she’s seemingly swiped a face from the House of Black and White. At least ONE useful thing came out of that whole arc. After her act of revenge though, the curious thing is that the destruction of the Freys leaves a vacuum of power at the The Twins, which is a key, strategic gateway between the North and the South. Does that mean the Lannisters and the Starks will be pitted against each other again? Also will Jaime be forced to fight against Brienne, or will he have broken away from his sister at that point? Hmmm.
Books and Irregularities
Marieke: In a short scene we see the Tarley family end up at the Citadel. What a lovely view! And a whole lot of white ravens leaving the tower… Sam’s scene in the library is played to comic effect, with the bureaucrat not giving a toss and minding irregularities. They should keep up with the times though, not allowing women inside (children I get…). The reveal of the library looked gorgeous and we finally saw something familiar from the opening credits placed within the show itself; the astrolabes hanging from the ceiling. I hope Sam will become the Grand Maester of all Maesters. He will surely have a ball in the meantime with all those books.
Danielle: The Citadel really is beautiful, and I loved the fact that Sam got to see the white ravens winging their way to various parts of the kingdom, one of them being Winterfell. In a way it kept him connected with Jon across all those miles. The Maester acting as secretary and admissions clerk was an absolute jobsworth and wouldn’t have looked too out of place on a council committee meeting. It’s also rather amusing that they’re so out of the loop regarding who was Lord Commander at Castle Black. If only they could have sent an email. I’m not entirely sure what Gilly will be expected to do while Sam spends all day in the Library. Now would be the time to take up knitting, because it’s obvious her other half is going to be spending most of his waking hours in the place judging by his reaction to those stacks and stacks of books. (To be fair, his reaction mirrored my own). It’s not as if he’ll be there entirely for his own enjoyment either. There has to be some information amongst those bookcases to help in the fight against the White Walkers. The secret to making Valyrian steel perhaps?
Lady Mormont: ‘Kingmaker’
Marieke: If you do not love Lyanna Mormont, I ask you kindly to step away now. Possibly the fiercest, awesomest, new character written into the show. She told off all the other heads of Northern houses, all older men. Lady Mormont does not forget, just like the North, and she does not give a flying Bolton whether Jon is a bastard or not. To her he IS the King of the North. Of course we know it’s not Ned’s blood running through his veins… Sansa has also acknowledged that she sees the real Jon. She wants him to have her parents’ bedroom and to her he is a real Stark. The one person not looking happy when the King of the North was declared was Littlefinger. And Sansa noticed. I shuddered and kept shuddering throughout the scene between him and Sansa at the weirwood tree. So he visualises himself on the Throne (not a surprise) every night, with Sansa by his side (not a surprise either). Baelish, that is NOT a compliment. That is super creepy! Of course he tried to kiss her again, but Sansa thankfully stopped him. He is going to be a big problem because he is selfish, cunning, ruthless and the biggest spanner that could come between the trust of a brother and a sister (or cousins, but they don’t know yet).
There was also a fiery exchange between Davos and Melisandre in the presence of Jon. Melisandre did not seem to have much guilt over burning Shireen, stating that her parents where just as much to blame. Davos calling out loud that Shireen was like a daughter to him was something we all knew, but it was nice yet heartbreaking to hear. Jon not sentencing her to death was all to her resurrecting him. It would’ve been a bit ungrateful. Banishing her was all he could do. Perhaps someday Davos will get his revenge. Perhaps a face changing Stark girl will get her revenge instead, as Mel and Arya are destined to meet again. One final question though. Now winter has arrived, according to the white ravens from the citadel, what will the Stark House motto be now???
Danielle: Totally agree with my Fezzy friend about little Lady Mormont. What she lacks in stature, she more than makes up for in conviction, seemingly realising that Jon is in the best position to see them through the battle against the White Walkers, whilst the other representatives of the Northern houses squabbled around her. It’s also funny as hell that she inadvertently thwarted Littlefinger’s attempt to make Sansa Queen, and therefore blocked his plans to gain the Iron Throne. Equally hilarious was the object of his infatuation’s blocking technique when he went to kiss her in the Godswood. That manoeuvre wouldn’t have looked out of place on a rugby field. Still, judging by the look on her face when she saw Baelish glancing at her after her brother had been named King of the North, she knows full well that there’ll be consequences. At the very least, he’ll try to stoke tension between her and Jon. Whether he’ll succeed now that they’ve apparently made their peace over what happened during the battle for Winterfell, and they’re preparing themselves for the newly arrived Winter, is debatable. She may have looked nervous when she returned Littlefinger’s gaze, but she’s no longer a naive, little girl anymore. We saw that when she calmly watched Ramsay being ravaged by his own hounds.
Regarding the stand-off between Davos and Melisandre, I honestly cannot praise Liam Cunningham enough. He LIVED that scene where he admitted to loving Shireen like a daughter, as if the devastation was dripping out of every pore. In spite of that, I still felt a limited amount of sympathy for Melisandre and found myself agreeing with her when she implicated Stannis and his wife in the burning of their child too. They do shoulder the blame equally, such was their desperation to maintain power and therefore sacrifice the best one amongst them for incremental gain. We always knew that she had plot armour after telling Arya she’d see her again one day, so banishment by Jon to the South was the only realistic punishment for her, especially as that’s where his little sister currently is. As an aside, that burnt stag that Davos had found in the remnants of Shireen’s pyre and threw at Melisandre was a rather neat and sad metaphor for the end of the Baratheon dynasty in this episode, even if Tommen’s part of it was in name only.
Prick Me, Prepare to Bleed
Marieke: Who could not like Olenna putting down the Sand Snakes? I think a massive cheer went up, which might have been louder than the zig-zag call of last week. Even though Dorne has been incredibly dull and badly done, the idea of a female Targaryen- Greyjoy-Tyrell-Martell alliance works quite nicely. I was not surprised when Varys appeared, but I did like how it was done. ‘Fire and blood’. I feel for Olenna losing her entire family, but she has nothing to lose now which makes her dangerous, as if she wasn’t already. She is, aftger all, a Kingslayer too as a result of poisoning Joffrey. The Martells still hate the Lannisters with a passion too. Cersei doesn’t know what is coming for her. It is telling though that Olenna and Varys were the highlights in a Dorne scene.
Danielle: I’m so, so, so pleased that Margaery sent her grandmother, Olenna, back to High Garden. I’d have been gutted if we’d have lost Diana Rigg at this stage in proceedings and this scene demonstrated exactly why she’s such an asset. Particularly her pithy takedown of each of the Sand Snakes. There really is nothing left for the Queen of Thorns to do, except to take the nuclear option against the woman who wiped out her entire family and form an alliance. Having the largest army in Westeros makes her a key part of that group of like-minded women too, and of course Varys was there in his best geisha outfit to smooth over the deal. Fire and blood indeed!
Getting in touch with the Local Branch
Marieke: Apart from the Olenna-Sandsnake cheer, I think there was also another massive shout at the screen during this scene. Benjen leaving Bran and Meera behind, without any means of transport. How does Bran ever leave that tree??? Meera isn’t that strong, physically. Benjen was deteriorating quite a bit too, wasn’t he? Being half alive-half walker is probably not the way to defeat them all. I wonder if we will see him again. Of course, the most important part of the scene was Bran finding out about the Tower of Joy. There it was. Lyanna Stark is his mother and asked Ned not to tell Robert and keep it a secret. I read some confusion online about who R is in the R+L=J equation, but it cannot be anyone other than Rhaegar. Why wouldn’t Ned tell Robert if Lyanna has his baby? Rhaegar and Lyanna were in love and created Jon, making him half Stark, half Targaryen. I don’t know how they managed to cast a baby looking so serious and broody as Jon does, but there he was. A fade to the scene at Wintefell with a close up of Jon made sure we all know now. Fan theories confirmed, fists pumped, parties held.
Danielle: Personally, I feel like Benjen is aware his mission is essentially kamikaze in nature, and so he knew his journey with Bran and Meera was over, regardless of the magic inbuilt into The Wall that won’t let him pass through with them. (I am curious if anything might happen to the structure now that his nephew has been marked by the Night King though, but that’s for next season.) The meat of this scene, however, was obviously the discovery about Jon’s true parentage and the promise Lyanna made Ned keep when he found her in a pool of blood in the Tower of Joy. Finally we know that the deceased former head of the Stark’s loyalty to his sister even outweighed his obligations to his wife Catelyn, because he knew full well a whisper in the wrong ear could lead to his ‘nephew’s’ death. If only he’d survived to see Jon again and tell him about his Mother, eh? One thing that caught my eye was the prominence of Arthur Dayne’s sword, Dawn, the weapon Ned picked up after Howland Reed had killed their opponent by stabbing him in the back and then placed at the end of the bed where his sister lay. It has to be significant, right? I’m almost certain we’ll see it again, and it could indeed be a candidate for ‘Lightbringer’, the flaming sword Azor Ahai is meant to wield in the War for the Dawn.
Drop the Dead Wood, Offer a Hand, Set Sail
Marieke: “I hope to see lots of ships, accompanied by a trio of dragons in the sky, heading across the sea to Westeros.” That was my plea in another piece we wrote. Well, I got my wish. Finally Dany is sailing for Westeros, with more people and houses behind her than expected. Tyrion was right about Dany having to end it with Daario. Poor Daario. He loves her, but he is a burden in the upcoming war. Will this be the last of him? It was a sad day for the Dutch actor contingent, they were both sent away from the main crowd. Daenerys not having any problems with breaking things off with Daario meant that she either did not really love him (forever Drogo’s?) or perhaps that she does not want to get attached anymore. If Elizabeth I could do it… In a rather moving moment she declared Tyrion Hand of the Queen, with a pin she had made for him. Our favourite imp truly looked touched and accepted the honour with watery eyes. There has been talk about why Tyrion, who as he explained himself never believed in anything, does follow Dany like this. She was intrigued by him from when he offered himself to her as Jorah’s gift. She took him seriously, did not mock him, listened to him. They bonded over their evil fathers and he showed her diplomacy is needed to rule. There is a mutual trust which Tyrion may not have experienced before. Possibly only with Varys. Also it probably doesn’t hurt that the person Dany will encounter on her way to the throne (although he did not know she’s actually on it) is Cersei. And maybe Tyrion finally just wants to believe?
Danielle: The contrast between Daenerys saying bye to Jorah and dumping Daario was really stark, wasn’t it? There were certainly no tears this time around. In a way I feel sorry for her former lover, but it just wouldn’t have done to have taken him with her to Westeros. He’s a liability. That said, this decision may come back to bite her on the backside, especially if he feels humiliated after his declaration of love and her cool rejection of it. It’s also worth remembering that Euron (and his c*ck) wanted an alliance with her, so it might not be too much of a stretch to surmise that the Second Sons and the Salt King’s sea army could form a ‘Coalition of the Rejected’ and undermine her power base in the East. Hell, they might even join forces with Cersei down the line!
With regards to Tyrion, I actually believe his attachment to Dany goes a little further than just appreciation for her treatment of him and respect for her capabilities as a ruler. That look he gave her when he said there’d be other men who’d fall for her spoke volumes. I suspect he knows it’s a completely hopeless cause, but at the very least he knows she trusts him enough to be her closest adviser, an act that almost reduces the much put-upon imp to tears. To a. have someone who values him that much and b. to be given that kind of responsibility clearly means a lot to him after the constant jibes from his sister and father, who never really forgave him for anything after being born and having the temerity to not fit the Lannister mould. Wasn’t that tracking shot of the dragons and the ships heading westwards at the end really something though? That posse in Dany’s boat looked spectacularly determined. I was really pleased to see the Sun finally shining on Theon’s face as well, as he helped man one of the ships with his sister by his side. This new sense of purpose is evidently his redemption. All we have to do next season is figure out how the hell Varys is managing to teleport around!
Our Fezzy Score:
This has been the best season finale in the history of Game of Thrones, in our humble opinion. Usually a weak episode after the strong and shocking 9th, this time the trend was bucked, with this particular instalment managing to make us hungry for the last two seasons at the same time as wrapping up older storylines, whilst also stylishly donning a winter coat of murder, intrigue and fun.