Cersei and Loras Tyrell stand trial by the gods. Daenerys prepares to set sail for Westeros. Davos confronts Melisandre. Sam and Gilly arrive in Oldtown. Bran discovers a long kept secret. Lord Frey has an uninvited guest.
So here we are, at the end of another great season of Game of Thrones . Death, destruction, murder and heartache have been plentiful. We have run through every emotion imaginable and been on a wild rollercoaster ride. As plan’s, devious or otherwise, come together, an explosive finale awaits in this weeks episode entitled The Winds Of Winter .
I cant believe I’m typing the words but the one thing I haven’t seen enough of this season is Jerome Flynn as Ser Bronn. Having only been reintroduced in Season 6 at the back end, its good to find him at The Rivers, alongside Jaimie Lannister, enjoying himself in the most deadpan fashion possible. He is the male equivalent of Yara Greyjoy who we saw in a brothel a few episodes ago. Hopefully we will see more of him in Season 7.
The episode opens with recap of the important plot points of Season 6 as we head into the finale. We find Jaimie Lannister in discussion with Walder Frey as Frey tries to build alliegiance and some rapport with Jaimie. After a sly dig at the Lannister family, Jaimie walks away, with a biting quip of his own to leave Walder Frey confused. Jaimie is the type of character who has the brains and the brawn for such a verbal sparing and its good to see someone defeated not with weapons but with words at this point in the episode.
One storyline that has been the slowest out of all the fast paced storylines this season, is the journey at Kings Landing of Cersei Lannister, Margaery Tyrell and the political sparring going on around them. Here we find the court gathering for the trial of Ser Loras Tyrell and Cersei Lannister. Cersei is shown at the Red Keep, peering at the court from a distance with a pensive look on her face. Lena Headey is a fantastic actress, using her face to convey a whole gamete of emotions but not actually giving anything away. Is she sad, happy, scared? We cant tell as a viewer. Her face holding emotion but giving us no particular clue. A small child stops Grand Maester Pychelle before he can reach the court, diverting his attention. The game is afoot.
Here is where Game of Thrones excels at intrigue. We see plans unfurling before our very eyes and are somewhat as clueless as the characters around us and we know something is up as Lancel is also guided underneath the Sept. With Maester Pychelle finding himself surrounded by children and brutally stabbed to death, we know Lancel is next. The cards are falling into place and something huge is going to happen and so it does shortly. With Tommen getting ready for the trail near Cersei and unable to leave as Ser Gregor Clegane is in the way, a huge explosion rips through the court in the distance.
Whats different here is the explosion is green in colour, its an interesting change from the regular coloured fire and gives an added edge to the scenes. Tommen, shocked at the scenes unfolding behind him jumps to his death. The scene unfolds simply and efficiently with the camera locked in place as Tommen opens a window, walks off camera and swan dives out of the window to his death. A shocking moment to say the least, one played out quickly and efficiently with minimum of camera moves.
One term used over and over in Game of Thrones is ‘Winter is Coming’ and here it truly is as Sam and Gilly venture to High Garden as dozens of white ravens are released signalling the start of Winter. The character of Sam, I feel, is us, the viewer. Here we find him arriving at the High Tower ready to start training as a Maester, and given keys to the Citadels library, we see through Sam’s eyes, his utter joy at the literature surrounding him.
One strand of plot we gets answers with this week is Bran and his journey with or as The Three Eyed Raven. Here we find him finding out the true lineage of Jon Snow. We get the last jigsaw puzzle piece in his vision with the revelation that Lyanna Stark and Rhaeger Targaryen are the true parents of Jon Snow. This is clearly going to be a major plot point in the last 15 episodes spread across Season 7 and 8 in the next two years. Exciting stuff is head.
Other areas of note (this review would as long as one of the novels if I went into details on everything) Jon Snow sends Melisendre away for her insistence on killing Shireen. Sansa and Littlefinger have an encounter that leaves actually doubts on which side Lady Sansa will be on next season. Jon Snow rallies families together in the Great Hall. Varys reveals his true allegiance in Dorne and Daenerys makes Tyrion her Hand of The Queen as they depart on a flotilla of boats for Westeros, finally!
The last pivotal scene has to be left with Arya Stark who has had the most emotional journey this season. Here we find her at The Twins disguised as a pretty servant serving Walder Frey, his sons cut up bodies in a pie. A particularly grim scene topped off with a smiling Arya slicing his throat and holding him in place as his life ebbs away.
A near perfect end to a perfect season. With storylines moving full throttle along, Naysayers who say Game Of Thrones has lost its way are wrong. The series goes from strength to strength and with recently announced truncated season 7 and 8 and only 15 episodes left, you know the story lines are going to be keeping you on the edge of your seat each and every week. See you in 2017 for Season 7 and remember….”When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die”.
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