Last night’s season six finale was incredibly satisfying. Afterward, I wandered the web’s digital streets, reading tweets and posts and joining in the social media reaction. Tumblr is a place I rarely visit, because it’s such a treasure trove of GIFs and screencaps and witty observations; once I fall in, it’s devilish hard to climb out. But last night I gave in, and returned with some spot-on fan observations to spice up my recap.
King’s Landing: I loved the slow, deliberate way we saw the major players dress themselves and draw together for the trials of Ser Loras and Cersei. Like many fans, I expected Cersei to use the Wildfire option, and after watching the High Sparrow and his ilk humiliate, publicly mutilate, and disenfranchise Loras, I was eager to see the old fanatic go up like a Roman candle. But before it happened, we were treated to seeing Margaery drop the mask (“Forget about the bloody gods for a moment!”) and the High Sparrow’s face as he realized she’d played him.
Farewell, Grand Maester Pycelle. Adieu, Lancel Lannister, you worthless numpty. Goodbye, Mace Tyrell. RIP Ser Loras, we’ll see you on the other side (Netflix’s upcoming superhero series, Iron Fist.) RIP Queen Margaery, who evaded or outwitted countless moronic males, but couldn’t quite escape the High Sparrow.
And let’s all spare a moment to remember King Tommen, whose tragic end made me gasp. A pawn his entire life, he was manipulated by Cersei, by Margaery (however gently), and finally by the High Sparrow. It’s not quite hyperbole to say his suicide was the only major decision he ever made of his own free will. And while it was heartbreaking, he might work a miracle in death. More on that later.
Sam, Gilly, and the Citadel’s Library: How wonderful to see a kind, gentle soul get precisely what he deserves: access to the Westerosi version of the Library of Alexandria. Heaven knows what secrets he’ll uncover there. Remember in season one when he said he’d always wanted to be a wizard? And later in the season, when Maester Luwin said that like all young Citadel students, he tried his hand at magic? Now that dragons have returned to the world and cold winds are rising, perhaps Sam’s boyhood dream of being a wizard is within reach.
Dany and Tyrion: Of course, I was pleased to see Daenerys cut Daario loose. I wanted him revealed as a villain and summarily executed, but alas. However, I can’t help but think we haven’t seen the last of him. When Euron and his ships get to Meeren, will Daario strike back at Dany by throwing in with the Ironborn? I still expect a betrayal from him.
How lovely to see Tyrion made Hand of the Queen! (And why on earth didn’t I see that coming?) Perhaps the fan theory about him being a secret Targaryen (and Dany’s half-brother) will come true next year.
Olenna Tyrell Personally Redeems the Much-Maligned Dorne Subplot: Yeah, I hate Dorne. I did like George R. R. Martin’s novel-version of the Sandsnakes, but the TV translation left me cold. They seem like a softcore porn parody of the books’ trio: three hardbodied hotties whose only function is starring in Game of Bones VI: Dirty in Dorne, available for in-hotel room viewing for $29.99. But watching the vengeful Queen of Thorns verbally dispatch them with her trademark caustic wit was a thing of beauty.
At Last, Walder Frey, At Last: All right, so it wasn’t how I imagined it. It was better. Walder Frey received the poetic, if disgusting, retribution he deserved, and Arya claimed vengeance for Catelyn and Robb. Immediately a few questions came to mind. Wasn’t she warned that wearing another’s face when you aren’t No One is like poison? Secretly killing the two Frey sons seems well within her skill set, but carving them up (unnoticed) and baking them into a pie (Arya baked? Arya??) has some logistical issues. Then again, I am reminded of when Steven Spielberg was shooting the finale of Jurassic Park, in which the T-Rex rather magically crashes in to save the heroes. Someone on-set famously asked, “But how did it get there?” To which Spielberg replied, “Who cares?” That’s pretty much the correct answer here.
Cersei Lannister, First of Her Name: Once again–why didn’t I see this coming? She took Tommen’s suicide pretty well. I think because Maggy the Frog’s prophecy assured her it would happen. And GoT superfans know what comes next:
Valonqar, of course, means “little brother” in High Valyrion. Cersei has always assumed her death would come at Tyrion’s hands. But it wasn’t Tyrion who rode up to see King’s Landing crippled by the very method he lost his honor to prevent. And it wasn’t Tyrion who stood in the gallery and stared at Cersei with what can only be called loathing. If Jaime takes poor Tommen’s end as hard as I think he has, perhaps the boy’s death isn’t entirely in vain.
Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon Snow: It’s a plot that stirs many of us at the most basic level. A highborn hero or heroine raised far from their rightful realm, forced to grow tough, smart, and resilient in ways a pampered royal brat never could. Many of us have expected the Tower of Joy reveal since season one. But Jon being declared the White Wolf, “the King in the North?” Once again, I’m sorry to admit, I never saw it coming.
Lady Lyanna Mormont’s impassioned speech was a highlight in an episode that felt like a feature-length highlight reel. If that little girl isn’t the reincarnation of Jon’s mother, she’s well-named, nonetheless.
Valar Morghulis: All posts must end. Especially when there are books to write. Therefore, I entirely skipped over many questions. What’s next for Sansa now that Littlefinger has professed his true desire? What was the design of Cersei’s crown meant to signify? Has Varys learned to teleport? Did Arya enlist Hot Pie’s help with her culinary masterpiece? (Knowing GRRM, that’s the whole reason Hot Pie was introduced in the first place.) It’s been an incredible season. I’ll leave you with a two more burning questions.