'Game of Thrones' Finale Recap: Dragon King & Mad Queen Rule 'The Winds of Winter'
Finally! It's official: R + L = Just call him the Dragon King in the North. "Game of Thrones" Season 6 aired its supersized finale, Episode 10, "The Winds of Winter," on June 26, and it was scrumptious.
• Arya Stark sent her regards to Walder Frey -- nice day for a red non-wedding! Another name off 00Stark's list. Plus, his sons. Someone please play "Rains of Castamere" for the Freys.
• The Mad Queen Cersei Lannister burned down the Sept of Baelor, via wildfire, killing Margaery Tyrell, Loras Tyrell, their dad, the High Sparrow, and many more. Someone please play "Rains of Castamere" for the Tyrells.
• Pycelle and Lancel were stabbed by children. Seems fitting somehow. They're dead, too.
• Tommen killed himself, jumping from a window. Goodbye, final Baratheon/Lannister child. Someone please play -- you know what, just blast that song from a boom box for all of Westeros.
• Cersei is the new Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, sitting on the Iron Throne and everything. Scary. But also, kinda cool. She's the first solo queen. Now Dany can dethrone another queen when she sails into
• Before being crowned, Cersei got her revenge on Septa Unella and shame, shame, shamed her -- then gave her some alone time with Gregor Clegane.
• Jon Snow is the new King in the North. Lyanna Mormont made an awesome speech for him, and that led others to declare for him, too. Sorry, Sansa Stark. We would've backed you, if you had stood up and fought for Queen status.
• Speaking of Jon and Lyanna, it was FINALLY confirmed that R (Rhaegar Targaryen) + L (Lyanna Stark) = Jon Snow. Ned Stark raised Jon as his own, as a promise to his dying sister. If only Catelynn Stark knew the truth, maybe she wouldn't have been so awful to Jon.
• Littlefinger wants to sit on the Iron Throne with Sansa beside him. Good luck with that.
• Varys and Olenna met up with the Sand Snakes in Dorne and they are all on Team Targ as revenge against the Lannisters.
• Melisandre was banished for killing Shireen. But where will she go? How far "South"? Meet up with the ships?
• Sam and Gilly got to the Citadel, and Sam loves the library. What will he learn there that will be relevant in the "great war" ahead?
• Daenerys Targaryen broke up with Daario Naharis, who is now in charge of peacekeeping in Meereen (they are doomed). Tyrion Lannister was made her Hand, and the episode ended with DTarg sailing across the Narrow Sea, with Tyrion, Missandei, the Greyjoys, and Varys.
So Dany is headed home to Westeros. Just in time for winter, which is no longer coming. It's here.
— Giuseppe Anthony (@ItalianMonster8) June 27, 2016
It's sad that poor puppet Tommen is gone (who will feed Ser Pounce?!), but Cersei seemed resigned to his fate. Was his fate sealed with Maggy's prophecy or did Cersei fulfill it herself? Whatever the case, Cersei's (and Jaime's) three children are all dead and now there is only one king -- the king in the North called Snow/Stark/Targaryen. But that younger, more beautiful queen is still on her way to cast Cersei down. It was never Margaery.
Cersei clearly should've been the Mad King's daughter instead of Dany. The Mad Queen inherited that kind of vindictive crazy that can't see past short-term revenge gains, plus she's blonde and loves her brother the way Targaryens usually encourage. Instead, we know Jon Snow is the real Targaryen, even if he looks more like his mom Lyanna Stark's side and would never pass Ned Stark's all relatives have the same hair color test. (Black of hair, black of hair, black of hair ... golden hair? Must be a bastard!)
— R+L=Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis) June 27, 2016
Anyway, what a phenomenal finale. Truly the best one yet. And now maybe it kinda makes sense that the next two seasons are (reportedly) shorter, since Dany is already on the way to Westeros and this is all "A Song of Ice and Fire." (The next book is so spoiled right now.) She's the fire. Jon is the ice. She has to take over King's Landing. (If Cersei used up all the wildfire, that's one obstacle out of Dany's way.) She has to meet her nephew. They have to fight the White Walkers. Then she goes back to rule King's Landing while he stays the King in the North? Maybe? Or will Sansa take over as Queen of the North, with Jon sitting beside Dany? Or maybe Jon will go back North? Or one of them will not make it to the end? We'll find out...
That's our (rumored) 13 episodes ahead. Please start them now!
— KFC (@KFCBarstool) June 27, 2016
Read on for a full recap of Season 6, Episode 10:
INTRO: We see the results of the Battle of the Bastards even before the "previously on." Afterward, we finally see the Sand Snakes and Dorne again, then visit Walder Frey and see the Riverrun siege results. Littlefinger also tells us more about Lyanna/Rhaegar, hinting to more from the Tower of Joy. We see Varys, the Dany/Greyjoy alliance, Margaery's pact with the Faith and telling Olenna to go home, Tommen banning trial by combat, and Cersei and Loras standing trial.
THE MAP: The map shows us King's Landing, the Twins, Winterfell, The Wall, Meereen (no more Braavos, yay), and back to Dorne, which we haven't visited since the Sand Snakes killed Prince Doran, Trystane, and company.
The episode starts with bells ringing in King's Landing. It's time to prepare for Cersei and Loras's trials.Tommen is crowned (for the last time?) and everyone files in for the trial. Loras, not holding up well at all (man up, buddy) is dragged in, while his father and sister watch. Margaery got herself out of this, but not her brother. All of this is silent, or at least non-verbal, as piano music plays. The visuals are gorgeous. Same director as last week's battle, and you can see his eye in action. Cersei looks gorgeous in her finery. Tommen seems unsure of what he has gotten himself, and his mother, into. Pycelle is still whoring, it seems. One of the little birds whispers to Pycelle. Qyburn's secrets?
Loras is forced to stand before "the Seven," but really just the High Sparrow. Loras says there will be no need for a trial, he'll confess. So he confesses to laying with other men, including "the traitor Renly Baratheon." He also names a bunch of other things, including "arrogance," which is also the High Sparrow's sin at this point. The High Sparrow, essentially king, decides justice is fair and speaks for the Seven. Loras's remaining wish is to devote his life to the Seven. Does he understand, fully, what this means? He will abandon the Tyrell name and all that goes with it, renouncing his claim to Highgarden. He'll never marry and father children. High Sparrow asks if he'll fight to defend his faith against heretics? He will. Ugh. But that's his way out. He gets that annoying mark on his forehead, and his dad freaks out, but Margaery knows "faith is the way" and holds him back.
Margaery made a deal with the High Sparrow, and apparently after "mutilating" Loras, Loras is free to go.
What will Cersei do, though? She's not likely to renounce a damn thing. Tommen was not there for Loras's trial. He's ready to go but Ser Gregor/Robert Strong stands in his way. Cersei didn't show up for her trial, so they sent Lancel to fetch her. One of the little birds ran ahead, though. Lancel, like an idiot, started following. Pycelle was also led below, and found Qyburn. A little bird child breaks out a knife and more appear. Love the haunting music.
So Pycelle is the first casualty of the finale. Death by little whisperer knives, over and over. For the watch! Before we usher in the new, the old must be put to rest.
Lancel also gets himself cut with these little prison shivs. These children are SAVAGE. Loving it. Lancel starts dying next to all of the wildfire. There's a torch burning near him. He can do the math, and tries to get to the candle flame in time to put it out. Whoever came up with the violin music as this plays out, you are a genius. This director, Miguel Sapochnik, should do every episode. It's official.
Margaery smells what's up and tells the High Sparrow (arrogant to the last) that they need to leave. She shouts for everyone to go, and takes Loras with her as they rush to exit. But she is prevented from leaving. It's too late. The wildfire takes over. Cersei watches from far, far away.
A smirk. And more wine. Tommen is also with her. He's watching. He's less pleased. Cersei pours her wine on Septa Unella. "Confess. Confess. Confess. It felt good. Beating me. Starving me. Frightening me. Humiliating me." Septa Unella didn't care about Cersei's atonement, she did it because it felt good. Cersei knows what that's like. Cersei confesses to Unella about Jaime, killing her husband, killing the sparrows. It felt good to watch them burn, to imagine their pain. No thought has given her more joy. Even confessing feels good. Unella doesn't get to die for a while, though. Ser Gregor is there. Shame. Shame.
It's not a big win, though. Tommen watches the fire burning. His beloved Margaery. His people. He jumps from the tower. Kills himself. BUT WHO WILL CARE FOR SER POUNCE? Later, Cersei is shown the results. What are her thoughts concerning his funeral? The Sept of Baelor is no longer an option. Cersei says burn him and burn his ashes where the sept once stood. This is part of the prophecy. She knew Tommen would die eventually.
Toward the end of the episode, we return to King's Landing and see Cersei, in stunning attire, crowned by Qyburn. She is going the route Littlefinger wanted for Sansa. But this can't end well, and Jaime doesn't look proud. He may be thinking of their son Tommen. Or he may just be troubled by who Cersei has become and what may be next. "Long may she reign." Um, no. Guessing not.
THE FOOKIN FREYS
We head straight to the Twins, for Walder Frey toasting the Lannisters and Freys, and Jaime and Bronn sharing more banter over women throwing themselves at Jaime. Walder is happy about the reclaiming of Riverrun. Did the Blackfish really get killed by "foot soldiers"? Why didn't we get to see it? Jaime wants to know if Walder ever killed anyone on the field himself? Walder hedges, says he's defeated his enemies. Riverrun belonged to the Tullys for years and now it's his. Jaime mocks him. But Walder does not care. Everyone mocked him, but where are they now? So now it's Walder vs. Jaime, mocking each other. "Two kingslayers." Ooh, Jaime is not going to want to be tied to this clown. Jaime says no one fears the Freys, they fear the Lannisters. Why do they need the Freys if they have to come calling for the Lannisters every time they lose Riverrun.
Much later, we return to see Walder being fed by someone new. Not one of "mine." "Too pretty." Where are his sons? Here, my lord. In the pie. They weren't easy to carve, especially Black Walder. It's Arya Stark with a face on. "My name is Arya Stark, I want you to know that. The last thing you're ever going to see is a Stark smiling down at you as you die." YASSS! She slits his throat, Red Wedding-style. 00Stark wins. Seriously, though, killing has become so easy for this young girl. She's still only meant to be, like, 13 or 14 at this point, right?
GILLY & SAM
We head with them to the Citadel. It feels a bit less than important for Sam to be a maester at this point. It's breaking news to the Citadel that Mormont even died, leaving Jon the new Lord Commander. (Sam doesn't know Jon died and left. So ... Edd is basically LC now.) Way to keep up on the news. As they figure out the irregularities, Sam is allowed to use the library. Gilly and baby Sam have to just hang out outside. The library is gorgeous, and empty. It's Sam's dream space.
WINTERFELL: MELISANDRE IS BANISHED
Jon tells Melisandre about where he'd sit when the family had feasts. Mel said it could've been worse. He had a family. He had feasts. He agrees that he was luckier than most. Davos storms in and confronts Mel on Shireen. So Mel confesses to Jon that they (she and Stannis) burnt her at the stake. Why? The army was strapped, the horses were dying, it was the only way. Davos is right to say if her Lord commands her to burn children, He is evil. Davos is all wonderful emotion in this scene. He loved Shireen. Mel admits she was wrong about Stannis. Davos: "You were wrong, and they died because you were wrong." Davos asks Jon for permission to murder Melisandre. Mel says she's been ready to die for many years. If the Lord was done with her, so be it, but He's not. Jon knows the great war is still to come. She thinks she can help Jon win that war. Jon tells Mel to ride South today. "If you return to the North I'll have you hanged as a murderer." But thanks for bringing me back to life all the same! (Side note: Why is this Jon's decision?) Davos tells Mel if she ever comes back this way he'll execute her himself. So she rides off. Hey, maybe she'll find Gendry. Is he still rowing?
JON & SANSA
Sansa comes over to watch Mel ride away. They discuss who should take Mother and Father's room. Jon says he's not a Stark, but Sansa says he is to her. Jon gives her credit for the battle win, for writing to the knights of the Vale. Sansa, wisely, says only a fool would trust Littlefinger. She apologizes for not telling Jon about the Vale letter. Jon says they need to trust each other. They can't fight a war amongst themselves. They have so many enemies now. He kisses her forehead. Sansa says a white raven came that day from the Citadel. "Winter is here." Jon: "Well, Father always promised, didn't he." Haha. Oh, Ned. How we miss you.
Later, Littlefinger finds Sansa in the godswood. It goes from zero to creepy very fast. He gets in her face. He wants to be on the Iron Throne, with Sansa by his side. She stops him from kissing her. It's a pretty picture, she says. She walks away. She's not going to be so easy to win over. Baelish says, "You, my love, are the future of House Stark." Baelish tries to pit Sansa vs. Jon, in terms of who the North should rally around. Don't call Jon a motherless bastard, even if it's true.
Ahhhh. Lady Olenna went to Dorne. They invited her. They both hate the Lannisters. Olenna is exactly what the Sand Snakes need. Olenna is in black. She's in mourning. She knows both of her grandchildren and son are all dead. Olenna wants vengeance and justice. Oh look, it's Varys! So Varys, Olenna, and the Sand Snakes are all in Dorne. Fire and blood. Team Targ!
Speaking of fire and blood, Daenerys has a meeting with Daario in Meereen. They talk strategy, for when she attacks Westeros. Dany tells Daario he has to stay with the Second Sons to keep the peace while the people choose their own leaders. Daario says f--k Meereen and the people. But he promised her. This is what she commands. Smart. If she's going to rule in Westeros, she's going to need to make alliances, and the best way is with marriage. Who will she marry this time? She doesn't know. Maybe no one. (No One? Go for Arya.) She can't bring a lover. Daario says a king wouldn't care. Does he want to be her mistress? He doesn't want a crown, he wants her. (Would she marry Jon? Her own nephew? Ew. But it is the Targaryen way. Maybe Tyrion? No. She should rule alone.) Daario begs to be allowed to go and fight for her. "I can't." Just say you won't, not that you can't. Daario says it was Tyrion's idea. "Slaver's Bay" is being renamed to "Bay of Dragons." At least Dany has a plan for Meereen, but Daario? Not sure he's the best one to leave in charge. It's a sweet parting scene. Not very emotional. If she leaves Missandei, that would be emotional. But Missandei has to come along, right?
Later, Dany goes to see Tyrion. "How did he take it?" No tears. Tyrion says he knows that was hard for her, since she had someone who loved her and she turned him away because he would be a liability. That makes her a wise ruler, but it's not much consolation. Dany admits she is afraid. Tyrion: "Good. You're in the great game now, and the great game is terrifying. The only people who aren't afraid of failure are the mad men like your father." Dany says what frightens her is she said goodbye to a man who loved her and she felt nothing but impatience to get on with it. Tyrion says he wasn't the first to love her and he won't be the last. (Where's Jorah? Cured yet?) Tyrion says he's a cynic but he believes in Dany. It's embarrassing, he says. He'd swear her his sword, if he had one. He swears his council. "Now and always." She had something made for her. A gift for the gift. He gets a pin.
"Tyrion Lannister, I name you Hand of the Queen." YAAASSSS! He's the perfect Hand. Love this.
BRAN GIVES US JON'S BACKSTORY
Uncle Benjen is leaving again. The dead cannot pass, which means he cannot pass. There's strong magic. Where will he go? The great war is coming and he still fights for the living. "I'll do what I can, as long as I can." Don't leave us! He's such a cool character, don't ditch the good ones. So Meera and Bran are left on their own, and Bran still can't walk. But he can fly. He stares into the tree, and touches it. He's the Three-Eyed Raven now. He has to be ready for this.
When he touches the tree he's transported back to the Tower of Joy scene. Ned heads into the tower and sees Lyanna. There's so much blood. Lyanna looks a bit like Emilia Clarke. She says she missed her big brother. She wants to be brave. She doesn't want to die. Listen to me, Ned. She whispers in his ear. You have to protect him. Promise me, Ned. Promise me. So it's just one baby. We always knew, suspected R + L = J, but there were theories that there were two babies, maybe Jon and Meera. Tyrion could still be a Targ, though, through Joanna Lannister and the Mad King.
We flash from the baby to Jon Snow, to emphasize that, yes, that was him. He is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna.
There's a huge meeting in Winterfell, and our favorite mini queen, Lyanna Mormont, stands up to say the North Remembers. We know no king but the King in the North whose name is Stark. She doesn't care if Jon is a bastard. Ned Stark's blood runs through his veins. He's my king, from this day until his last day. (Why not Sansa as queen?) That prompts others to declare for Jon. Love that, but why not Sansa? Jon Snow avenged the Red Wedding, he is the white wolf. He is the King in the North.
The King in the North! King in the North! Sansa smiles, but then shares a look with Littlefinger. Will this be enough for her, to sit beside Jon, and watch him rule? She is the pureblood Stark, and she has even more right to be there.
— Internet Palace (@InternetPalace) June 27, 2016
Serious question: Is Bella Ramsey eligible for the guest actress in a drama Emmy for her scenes as Lyanna Mormont? She didn't just slay for a child actress, she tore down the walls in every scene. And she was only in three!
SHIPS ARE SAILING
The episode ends with Dany, her dragons, and the Greyjoys ships heading across the sea. FINALLY! Dany, Tyrion, Missandei, even Varys -- they are all there. Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with Danyyyyyy.
Check out this "Inside the Episode" video for more:
Nothing. Not one blessed thing until next year. That was it. Our watch has ended. And this is rumored to be the final 10-episode season, with the next two seasons being shorter. At least the early casting notices for Season 7 sound intriguing.
Want more stuff like this? Like us on Facebook.