Sunday, July 03, 2016

GAME OF THRONES: (S6E10) "The Winds of Winter"

Episode 10 of Season 6 (S6E10) of HBO's Game Of Thrones is titled "The Winds of Winter." This is also the title of the sixth (still unreleased) book in George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy opus A Song Of Ice and Fire on which the entire television series is based.  However, based upon what we know about how the producers have adapted the story that has appeared in the first five books, not everything we see on screen is necessarily what happens in the books. The season 6 finale

How to summarize what happens in this episode? Mass murder! Basically, Cersei demonstrates that she will do anything to win the game of thrones, and as you see from the picture at the top of this post, she ends up sitting on the Iron Throne, crowned Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, Cersei of House Lannister, First of Her Name. One can't help notice the contrast between Cersei's storyline in the Season 6 finale from what it was in the Season 5 finale (S5E10: "Mother's Mercy"), where she was publicly humiliated by being forced to walk naked from the Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep as part of her atonement for her "sins" in order to regain her release from captivity under the High Septon's control and torture by Septa Unella. Cersei's revenge and rage is blazingly hot, incredibly destructive and very, very deadly.

Here is the list of important characters Cersei kills by using wildfire to blow up the Great Sept of Baelor:

  • Ser Kevan Lannister (her uncle, the Hand of the King)
  • Lord Mace Tyrell (Master of Coin)
  • Ser Loras Tyrell (her fiance)
  • Queen Margaery Barratheon (Loras Tyrell's sister)
  • The High Sparrow (leader of the Faith of the Seven, a.k.a. The High Septon)
  • Lancel Lannister (her cousin and former lover)
  • countless other nameless nobles and prominent citizens of King's Landing, who thought they would be attending the trial of the former Regent, Queen Mother and wife of King Robert Barratheon

And just for good measure, she also has Grand Maester Pycelle killed (by the "little spiders" i.e. orphan children who run amok in King's Landing). However, the implications of these murderous actions cause her sole remaining child, King Tommen Barratheon, to commit suicide by diving off a ledge high up in the Red Keep!

So, while Cersei gets her revenge on all her enemies (by incinerating them) and gaining her greatest prize (the Iron Throne), she also suffers her greatest loss (the death of Tommen).

But, wait there's more!

We get important forward movement in multiple story lines in this season finale:

  • Sam and Gilly (finally) make it to the Citadel, and we get to see Westeros' largest library (which is awesome!)
  • Arya reveals her presence in Westeros and her ability to use the magic of the Nameless Assassins to get close to and murder the odious Walder Frey, finally consummating the revenge of the Stark clan for the Red Wedding of (S3E09) "The Rains of Castermere."
  • The Red Witch, Lady Melissandre, is banished from the North for her role in the horrific murder of Shireen Barratheon (by burning her alive) in S5E09 "The Dance of Dragons."
  • Tyrion Lannister is named the Hand of the Queen right before Danerys Stormborn sets off for Westeros with her armies consisting of the Unsullied and Dothraki hordes, supplemented by ships from the Tyrells and the Martells
  • We see Lord Varys cement an alliance in Dorne between House Martell (represented by Ellaria Sand) and House Tyrell (as represented by the Queen of Thorns, Olenna Tyrell) to combine forces to battle the Lannisters for "vengenace and justice"
  • Jon Snow is declared King of the North after Lady Lyanna Mormont gives a brilliant speech in his favor
  • We see Brandon Stark learn that Lyanna Stark is Jon Snow's mother (so Jon is definitely a Stark, but the question of who his father is, is not answered, and whether, Jon is in fact a bastard or not)
  • Last but not least, we see Jon and Sansa hanging out, and she tells him that it is official, "Winter has come."

The highlights of this episode were:
  • The entire opening 25-minute sequence (which has limited dialogue, and a very effective score by Ramin Djiwadi, including a new piece called "The Light of the Seven") set in King's Landing is one of the most impressive moments in the entire television series.
  • The best line of the episode (and perhaps the season) goes to Cersei "I do things because they feel good... I drink because it feels good. I killed my husband because  it felt good to be rid of him. I f*** my brother because it feels good to feel him inside me. I lie about f****ing my brother, because it feels good to keep our son safe from hateful hypocrites. I killed your High Sparrow, and all his little sparrows,....because it felt good to watch them burn. It felt good to watch them burn. It felt good to imagine their shock and their pain, No thought has even given me greater joy." 
  • Another great line is Lyanna Mormont's "I don't care if he's a bastard. Ned Stark's blood runs through his veins. He's my king from this day, until his last day!"
  • The two last shots, showing Cersei on the Iron Throne and then the huge armada of ships on their way to Westeros, including three fully grown dragons, is thrilling, and Djiwadi's music is astonishing.
No lowlights. A near-perfect episode. Probably the best of the first 60 of the show.
Grade: 10/10.

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