I made a significant effort into reading more in “A Clash of Kings” this week than I had in previous weeks.
I am currently in the middle of a Theon chapter on page 544. That means in the last week I read 96 pages and 283 pages since the season began. My short term goal is still to complete “A Clash of Kings” by the end of July and have “A Storm of Swords” done before Season 7 part 1 airs next year.
There are some shows that a better to binge watch, like “The Walking Dead”, because if you watch them on a weekly basis you just pick the show apart. “Game of Thrones” is not like that. In fact in the three seasons since my husband and I have had HBO it has never felt like a chore which is surprising because historically I’m not a big fan of feeling like I have to be home on a Sunday night to watch a TV show. Before I get into specifics about last night’s season finale I will say that as a whole Season 6 was much, much better than Season 5. The highs like episodes 1, 2, 3 and 9 and 10 were as high as episodes 8, 9 and 10 last year and the low points like the blah episode 8 was way better than the awful low point that was episode 6 last year. I fully expect this show to clean up in terms of Emmy nominations next month and possibly win Best Drama series again. Lena Heady and Emelia Clark should both get nominated for Best Supporting Actress, especially if they submit episode 10. I didn’t think that Peter Dinklage did his best work this season but he was great in episode 10 and would have a shot at getting nominated again if he submitted that episode. I really feel that if Kit Harrington submits episode 3 he could get nominated for Best Supporting Actor, I think he genuinely did a great job in that episode and as a whole has become a better actor.
During the recap portion of the episode it became clear that Dorne was going to be featured for the first time since the start of the season. It became pretty obvious that the show was going to go into the Tower of Joy and basically reveal that the L+R=J theory is true.
The episode began in King’s Landing. I felt like the Season 5 sequence at Hardome made for the best episode of the entire series. It was truly an amazing episode. As much as I stand by that amazing sequence in Season 5 I really think that the opening sequence in King’s Landing at the start of last night’s season finale has topped it to become the best sequence ever in 60 episodes of this show and I think this episode also became the best episode in the history of the show as well.
In King’s Landing we see Cersei, Tommen, Margery and the High Sparrow preparing for the trials of Loras and Cersei. Both trials are scheduled to take place at the High Sept of Baelor. Loras’ trial goes first and the once beautiful man who was known as the Knight of Flowers is brought in dirty and shaking. It turns out he will not have a trail because he confesses to all of his sins including sleeping with Renly.
The High Sparrow says that the Mother shows mercy and he allows Loras to live so that he can serve the Seven. Loras agrees to abandon the Tyrell name and Highgarden. The High Sparrow has the sign of the Seven carved into Loras’ forehead much to the dismay of Margaery and Mace. The entire time that Loras’ trial as sense of dread begins to build like a snowball from hell.
As Loras’ trial ends the snowball picks up speed it’s clear that it won’t be able to be stopped. Having dragged his feet in getting over the High Sept of Baelor Tommen finally gets up to go but he is stopped by the Zombie Mountain.
It is obvious that if Tommen isn’t going to be allowed to attend the trail and Cersei won’t be going either. Margery figures this out and desperately tries to warn the High Sparrow and others that something is wrong.
Things for from bad to worse as Grand Maester Pycelle is stabbed to death by several young children and Lansel is led deeper and deeper the High Sept of Baelor. Lansel is also stabbed but only once. It is a stabbed Lansel who sees the tons and tons of wildfire under the High Sept of Baelor that had been put there many, many years ago by the Mad King. As two candles burn threatening to set the whole thing ablaze Lansel desperately tries to drag himself over to stop the catastrophe waiting to happen. Back above ground Margery and the other people in the High Sept of Baelor try to get out but the High Sparrow remains unconvinced that there is anything wrong he and he won’t let them out.
It is only moments before disaster strikes that he finally realizes that Margaery was right but by then it is far too late. Right as Lansel reaches the candles that were sitting in the middle of a pool of wildfire time runs out as the flame touches the wildfire.
The hundreds, if not thousands, of barrels explode at once. Within seconds the explosion spreads to the Great Sept of Baelor and kills all those inside, including the High Sparrow, Queen Margaery and all of the other Tyrells. All of this is watched by Cersei from the Red Keep who has her trademark smug look plastered on her face.
The opening sequence was truly amazing. From a technical standpoint the editing was superb; this is cutting back and forth to create tension at its finest. The music that was selected was a perfect combination of thrilling and sad. As upsetting as the destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor was I don’t think the build up to it could have been done any better. This is why people say watching “Game of Thrones” is like watching a movie.
Even with the Great Sept of Baelor destroyed there is still once person that Cersei is out to destroy and that is Septa Unella. Cersei waterboards her with wine demanding that Septa Unella confess, it is at that point Cersei confesses so many things including Killing King Robert and sleeping with Jamie. Septa Unella thinks she’s going to die but Cersei has something much worse in store for her. Cersei has the Zombie Mountain come in to rape her. As Cersei walks away she recalls Septa Unella’s words to her, “Shame, shame, shame.”
For all of her many, many, many faults Cersei loves her children. She has made many, many bad decisions and a couple of good ones all in the name of protecting her children. She has lived in fear since she was a little girl that the prophecy that she was told would come true. Chief among her fears from that prophecy was that all three of her children would die. With Joffrey and Myrcella both dead via poisoning all Cersei is left with his Tommen. But in trying to hold on to power she dooms her son. Tommen is faced with the reality that his mother killed his wife, brother-in-law, father-in-law, spiritual leader and many innocent people.
It is too much for the Young King. He takes off his crown and then walks out of one of the high windows of the Red Keep, killing himself, thus fulfilling the prophecy that all of Cersei’s children would die.
Moving away from King’s Landing briefly the episode checks in with Jamie at the Twins. Walder Frey toasts the alliance between the Freys and the Lannisters. However, privately Jamie dismisses the Frey’ since the Lannisters had to rescue them when they lost Riverrun to the Blackfish.
It seems that this alliance is not as strong as it seems from the outside.
Back at King’s Landing Cersei is faced with the death of her final child. She sees Tommen’s dead body following his suicide fall from the Red Keep.
She says that she wants his body burned and his ashes placed where the Great Sept of Baelor was so he can be with his grandfather, brother and sister. It has seemed that ever since the death of Joffrey and then her father Cersei’s sanity has been hanging by a thread. It feels as if Tommen’s suicide cut that thread and she is now completely detached from logic, reason, sanity and reality.
Down in the South, Sam and Gilly arrive at Oldtown. The Maester that greets them is skeptical that Sam has any right to be there. It seems news of the deaths of Lord Commander Mormont and Maester Aemon have not made their way down from Castle Black yet. Sam is allowed to use library but Gilly and Little Sam are not allowed inside. As Sam enters the great big library of the Citadel he and we are in awe of how massive and beautiful it is.
There has been very little of Sam this season but it would seem to make sense that the knowledge that Sam’s attains while he is in Oldtown will prove vital in the Great War to come against the Night King and the White Walkers.
Up at Winterfell the actions of Melisandre in Season 5 finally catching up to her. She is talking to Jon when Davos comes into the room. He throws Shireen’s burned stag at her. She catches it and looks at it. She knowns that the truth is about to come out. Davos demands that she tell Jon what she did and she admits to her actions. Davos is livid and is not buying what she is selling. She tries to defend herself saying that killing Shireen was the only way to save Stannis but Davos correctly points out that Stannis died anyway. With his heart broken Davos wants Jon to allow him to execute Melisandre for murder.
Melisandre doesn’t fight this saying she has been ready to die for years but she still thinks that Jon will need her in the Great War to come against the Night King and the White Walkers. Jon clearly understand just how awful Melisandre’s actions were but it seems that part of him also believes he might need her down the road, and of course there is the fact that she brought him back to life. So Jon finds a middle ground and orders her to ride south and warns her that if she ever returns to the North that she will be killed. Jon stands atop Winterfell and watches Melisandre ride away when Sansa comes up to him.
Of all the half-siblings for Jon to be reunited with Sansa is the one that would cause there be to be the most uneasiness. They were never close growing up and two big questions hang over them now; can they trust each other and who will be in charge of Winterfell? As they talk it seems neither one of them wants to totally take the title of Winterfell. Sansa doesn’t feel comfortable taking the room her parents occupied but Jon insists saying she is the Lady of Winterfell. He asks her if she trust Littlefinger and she says no. Sansa apologies for not telling him about the Knights of the Vale and Jon stresses that they need to be able to trust each other. I think they want to trust each other but with so many other people around them can their tentative bond hold?
The next location was Dorne. I had been wondering how Dorne would be reincorporated in this episode. Well, it is the location where East meets West. The Queen of Thornes talks with Ellaria Sand.
Having had her entire family killed in King’s Landing the Queen of Thornes is not looking for survival but for revenge. This is what Ellaria offers her. As Varys emerges it becomes clear that Dany will have two more powerful women on her side when she arrives in Westeros.
Speaking in Dany, after years of floundering in Slaver’s Bay she is ready to make her big move. She meets with Darrio instructing him to say in Meereen to keep the peace so that the people can elect their own leaders. She also says that she can’t bring a lover to Westeros and that she may have to make an alliance by marrying somebody on that side of the world. With Salver’s Bay renamed Dragon’s Bay it does seem Dany has completed what she set out to accomplish in Essos. She has freed all the slaves and built an army big enough to take back the Iron Throne. She meets with Tyrion. She admits she’s scared, not so much of what lies ahead but of how easy it was for her to say good-bye to Darrio. As I’ve mentioned several times Tyrion hasn’t had much to do this season but he and Dany do make a great team when they are together. The flawed and complicated dwarf says he that doesn’t believe in anything but he does believe in Dany. This is a beautiful and powerful statement, equally beautiful is when Dany names Tyrion the Hand of the Queen.
After a lifetime of people making fun of him, abusing him and not believing in him it appears Tyrion has finally found somebody who sees the good he is capable of. These two have the potential to truly rule with both power and compassion.
As the show checked back in with Walder Frey at the Twins we see a name come off a list. Walder Frey comments to a young woman that she’s not one of his. The second he said that I knew it was Arya wearing a face. Maisie Williams appeared in the opening credits but Braavos did not. That meant that Arya had to back somewhere in Westeros. It turns out I was right. Arya in disguise reveals to Walder Frey that he’s been eating a pie made of other Freys. When he realizes what has happened Arya removes the face and tells him who she is. Arya avenges the death of her mother and brother as she slits Walder Frey’s throat.
Back at Winterfell we find Littefinger approaching Sansa. He makes his big play for her saying that his ultimate dream is him sitting on the Iron Throne with her by his side. She rebuffs him and walks away but not before he can plant more seeds of doubt in her mind about Jon.
The other remaining Stark child finds himself at the wall. Benjen Stark tells Bran and Meera that he can’t beyond the wall and that he must leave them. Bran finds himself in front of a Weirwood.
He makes the decision to touch it and have a vision. Meera is apprehensive about this but Bran feels he must since he is the Three Eyed Raven now. As expected Bran’s vision takes him back to the young version of Ned Stark standing outside of the Tower of Joy; the last time Bran had his vision Ned was about to go into the Tower but this time he does. Inside the tower Ned finds his sister Lyanna lying in a bed of blood. What is super interesting is that this very important scene has been held back on the show until the end of season 6 but it appears about two thirds of the way through the first book. In the tower Ned tries to comfort his sister. She whispers something to him that we can’t hear but what we can hear is, “If Robert finds out, he’ll kill him, you know he will. You have to protect him. Promise me Ned”. Then a baby is put into Ned’s Arms.
The baby’s face is then faded in the grown up face of Jon Snow. I suppose the most casual fan of the TV show only hadn’t figured out who Jon Snow’s mother is yet but they certainly know after last night. What is interesting about this reveal is that it still leaves a bit unconfirmed. We officially know that Lyanna Stark is Jon’s mother but who is the father? What one has to assume was in the whisper was the name of Jon’s father and that name , of course, starts with an R. I would imagine that final bit of information will come out before the show is done but the confirmation of Jon’s mother is a big deal because it invalidated what came next even though nobody at the event that came next was aware of the truth.
As baby Jon’s face fades into adult Jon’s face what happens next is in the North being discussed. There seems to be a lot of arguing among the houses of the North. Little Lyanna Mormont puts an end to it and sings the praises of Jon and declares him the King in the North.
The other houses follow in calling Jon the King in the North. At first Sansa looks okay and even pleased with this but then she looks over at Littlefigner and sees the look on his face. The smile disappears from her face and you can almost see the wheels in her head turning as she tries to figure out what this all means.
I like Jon and I always have. However, there are two big problems with him being declared the King of the North. The first and most obvious is we just found out he is not Ned Stark’s son, bastard or otherwise. As Ned’s nephew he has no real claim at all as long as any of Ned’s children are alive. And even if Jon was Ned’s bastard he would still be forth in line to be the Lord of Winterfell. Let us not forget the line of succession for Winterfell is Bran, Sansa, Arya and then and only then Jon, if a bastard can get anything at all. With Bran at the Wall and Arya at the Twins I expect all of the remaining Stark children to be reunited in season 7 but what will that mean for Jon? I fully expect Jon to play an important role in the conclusion of this show but I don’t think it will or should be as the Lord of Winterfell.
As much as I don’t think that Jon has a good claim to be the Lord of Winterfell it is nothing like what is happening at King’s Landing. Jamie and Bron arrive back to find the city a disaster. Not only does Jamie find that his son/nephew is dead but Cersei had appointed herself Queen.
Talk about somebody who doesn’t have a claim and has no business ruling. As Cersei said to Ned in season one/book one, “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die, there is no middle ground.” Cersei has always played to win but at what cost? Like I mentioned earlier I think the death of Tommen finally pushed her over the edge and she has no reason to even pretend to be reasonable or sane anymore. With Cersei on the Iron Throne the people are going to wish for the inaction of Tommen or the brutality of Joffrey. She may have reached the pinnacle of power but she seems to have misunderstood the last part of the prophecy from her childhood that a younger Queen would replace her. She’s been so convinced that it was Margaery that she hasn’t realized that the real threat his half a world away and is now coming for her.
That younger queen is, of course, Dany. The season ends with what we’ve all been waiting for. Theon, Yara, the three Dragons, Tyrion, Varys and Danny set sails from Meereen for Westeros. It is time for the worlds to come together and for Dany to take back what is hers!!!
I feel a bit at a loss now that Season 6 is over. It’s hard to believe that we have to wait another 10 months to find out what happens next and even when that happens there will only be seven episodes in Season 7 Part 1. Having truly surpassed the books in every way the show now enters the beginning of the end.
My prediction for where we end up…Bran will not become the Lord of Winterfell. He will remain alive but at the Three Eyed Raven. He will play a vital role in defeating the Night King. Jon will be the great commander in the war against the Night King. He will also not be the Lord of Winterfell. Sansa will become the Lady of Winterfell with Arya as her most trusted advisor. Melisandre and the Brotherhood without Banners will help Jon defeat the Night King. After Dany aligns with Martells and the Tyrells she will take back the Iron Throne. Cersei will be killed by one of the dragons. Jamie will live but Tyrion will be the only Lannister left with any power. The South will be connected to the North when Dany, the great warrior of the war in the south, marries Jon, the great Warrior of the war in the North…But then again my guess is as good as anybody’s.
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Justin Gomez and his sister, Terri, have never been close. Separated by nine years and distant in adulthood, Justin and Terri have little in common, except for the love of her three children. In the days before they embark on a road trip to visit the father that once abandoned them and their now deceased mother, both Terri and Justin are dealing with unexpected changes in their lives. Justin surprisingly realizes he might want more than a series of one night stands after a first date goes unexpectedly well. After a lifetime of being a strong type A personality, Terri is forced to confront the reality of the end of her marriage. As they hit the road, with Terri’s children in tow, they find themselves forced to rely on and confide in each other following a devastating event. Confronted with memories from the past and challenges from the present, Terri and Justin must dig deep and unearth the truth about themselves and their parents in order to build a new family based on their love for each other.