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GAME OF THRONES Season 6 Finale Recap: The Winds of Winter

Hello, fair citizens of the Realm! It’s that time of year again—the most wonderful of them all—Game of Thrones season. And, in addition to winter: spoilers are coming! (And maybe a few swears, too. Woops!) As this is a recap, it goes over everything in crazy detail, so proceed at your own risk and don’t say we didn’t warn you in the comments below!

Man oh man oh man oh man. Cersei’s on the Iron Throne; Samwell’s down in Oldtown; Arya’s back home and more murder-y than ever, and We FINALLY know the truth about R+L=J. Oh, and Dany and her dragons are finally coming home to try and rule the ruined roost. Could any more have possibly happened in the season six finale episode of Game of Thrones? In “The Winds of Winter,” the oft-mentioned season is finally here. And with it came a ton of revelations and forward-momentum to propel us into the final 13 episodes (Rumored episode count! Not confirmed!) of the TV iteration of A Song of Ice and Fire.


Being that this finale was the Stefon of episodes—I mean it literally just had everything—there’s a lot to unpack. Overall, I dug the shit out of this episode, but I also have no chill and am a total fangirl stan, so take from that what you will. If you want a more measured, thoughtful appreciation (or takedown) of the episode, go talk to Joanna Robinson at Vanity Fair. (She’s pretty much always on the money, anyway, and even when I disagree with her I also kinda-sorta agree with her, so!) While certain moments’ forward momentum felt rushed compared to seasons past (doesn’t it take WEEKS to get to King’s Landing from the Riverlands? Also Braavos–The Twins doesn’t seem like a quickie jaunt either, now does it? Especially when Samwell’s been questing to Oldtown ALL SEASON LONG …but I digress), it was ultimately a hugely satisfying pay-off to see so much just hurry up and happen. In fact so much happened, I am honestly unsure how there are even 13 more episodes worth of stuff to get to, especially with Dany on the move.

First, let’s talk about all we’ve learned. And YES WE ARE TALKING ABOUT JON SNOW’S MOTHER. It’s been the biggest, most well-received fan theory maybe in the history of fan theories, and tonight, Dave and Dan gave it to us straight: Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. Jon Snow is the physical embodiment of the song of ice and fire. Jon Snow very may well be Azhor Ahai reborn, the Prince that was Promised. And with the Northern lords all supporting him as the new King in the North, there’s no way an epic showdown between he and Dany isn’t in our future. “But will they kiss?!” the internet asks. (Frankly, IDGAF/still think it’s pretty gross.)


Speaking of people the internet wants to kiss: Sansa stood staunchly by her brothercousin’s side, proclaiming the words we’ve all waited to hear—winter is here—and telling Littlefinger what’s up. Though we’re very, very worried for Sansa’s future since he let it known that his end game was to marry Sansa and sit atop the Iron Throne (which: duh). Still, she held her own throughout the interaction—”It’s a pretty picture.” A+ comeback work, Sansa—and her patching things up with Jon gives us hope for the future.

A future that is ruled by the Mad Queen Cersei. WE KNEW IT, YOU GUYS. We knew she was going to burn it all to the ground. Sure, it wasn’t a full-on King’s Landing assault like I’d hoped, but hey: there’s always next season for the entirety of King’s Landing to go full-kablewy. With the Sept of Baelor and the Faith Militant destroyed, Cersei has everything she’s ever wanted: absolute power. It only took killing off House Tyrell (I mean basically), destroying a house of worship, and her son committing suicide for it to happen! I believe they call these “trade-offs.”


Hands down, however, the best moment of the night was Cersei’s torture-fueled takedown of Septa RatchedUnella, waterboarding her with wine like the total lush, drunk with power, that she is. “Confess” she said. “Shame” she rang. So measured, so poised, so absolutely batshit insane. “You did it because it felt good; I understand.” And it all ended with The Mountain doing something to her — rape? Killing her to turn her into someone like him? Next season’s going to get weird with all these undead creepos running around half-baked.

Now for the darker parts: we all knew Tommen was going to die this season, but suicide? That was nuts. And the way the scene was shot really showed us just how much the Lannisters and the Starks are foils for one another. I mean, there’s no mistaking the parallels between Bran’s push from the window in season one and Tommen’s leap from a window in the finale just now. And with two episodes ago giving us Jaime reiterating the line he said when pushing the young Stark—”The things I do for love!”—it feels as though Lannister love is a real mark of trouble and death to come. The Starks live and die by morality and justice and righteousness, whereas the Lannisters are all pure passion and power. In many ways, the Lannisters’ love (of themselves, of power, of vices) has always been their family downfall.


Speaking of love: TYRION I SEE YOU! I see you going all googly-eyed over Dany! Don’t think I didn’t! I mean, I get it—she’s a boss babe poised to rule the Seven Kingdoms and beyond, but still: don’t do it, Tyrion. Don’t fall in love; it literally NEVER works out for you. I know, I know: you have a thing for smart, unexpected women and there truly isn’t one that embodies those two things more than Daenerys Targaryen. (At least not of marrying age—looking at you, Lyanna Mormont.) But I can’t help but feel as though the story of the Lannister family—of all of them—is a cautionary tale of love and obsession and ambitious passion. Which leads me to believe Tyrion’s wedged himself into in a tricky position, being named Dany’s Hand to the Queen notwithstanding.

Sidenote: I sincerely hope Daario Naharis gives up the Meereenese ghost and goes back to his family in Canada. KIRA MISSES YOU DEARLY, DAARIO. DON’T BE A DEADBEAT DAD TO HER.


And while we’re on the topic of disgruntled tweens: ARYA IS BACK IN WESTEROS, Y’ALL! And, good lord, this made me deliriously happy. Using the ways taught to her by the Faceless Men, Arya managed to get herself into the kitchen of the Frey’s and turn Walder’s two eldest sons into a pie—that he ate!—before she murdered the shit out of ol’ Walder, getting the Red Wedding revenge she’s craved for so long and crossing a few more names off her list. Man, she’s going to be the best murderperson this side of the Narrow Sea, mark me. I hope she lives until the end.

Oh, yeah: we also got back to Dorne and the Sand Snakes, who are clearly going to team up with Daenerys Targaryen (as evidenced by some of those boats we saw in the Bay of Dragons and also the arrival of Varys) to try and take Cersei down. So, uh, yeah: that’s a thing.

Other Thoughts:

  • Best Lady Olenna-ism of the season, maybe? “Obara … you look like an angry little boy, don’t tell me what I need.”
  • I AM OBSESSED WITH THE CITADEL’S LIBRARY! I WANT TO GO ALL BELLE FROM BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ON THAT MFer RIGHT NOW. Heaven is a place and it is that library and if you don’t believe me take a look at the awe on Samwell’s face!
    • I’m not going to be over that library for awhile.
  • Where do we think Melisandre will go? And do we think Ser Davos’ days are numbered because of it?
    • Her line of the night was definitely that real talk moment with Davos though about her killing Shireen: “So did her father, so did her mother.” COLD but also not inaccurate.
  • Give me more organs next season, PLEASE.
  • Don’t feel bad for Ser Loras: he’s going to go live in the Marvel universe now. See you on Iron Fist!

What did you think of the Thrones finale? Let us know in the comments below and TUNE IN MONDAY at 10am PST, when Dan Casey and I break it all down on All Kings Considered, our Game of Thrones aftershow!

Images: HBO

Alicia Lutes is the Managing Editor, creator/co-host of Fangirling, and resident Khaleesi of House Nerdist. Find her on Twitter but only if you really want to because like, I’m not your boss.

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