Game of Thrones Recap Season 6 Episode 10: The Winds of Winter
Margaery and her father await the trials of Loras and Cersei at the Sept of Baelor. Cersei dresses in black, and King Tommen is called to attend. Before he can leave, Zombie Mountain arrives and blocks the door. Loras confesses to all charges and joins the Faith Militant, who carves the seven-pointed star into his forehead. Grand Maester Pycelle is drawn to Qyburn's laboratory where he is killed by the "little birds". Lancel, sent to retrieve Cersei, pursues another of the children into a dark passage where he is stabbed and left bleeding. Margaery begins to sense something amiss and attempts to evacuate the Sept, but is prevented from doing so by the Faith Militant. Lancel crawls forward and finds candles burning low in a pool of Wildfyre near the larger cache Tyrion mentioned last episode. He doesn't make it in time, and the Wildfyre explodes, consuming the Sept of Baelor and most of the surrounding area.
Cersei wineboards the nun who tormented her in captivity before leaving her in Zombie Mountain's hands, and leaves chanting "shame...shame...shame". Tommen removes his crown and throws himself from a window to his death. Cersei orders his body burned.
Jaime and Bronn return to King's Landing to find the smoking ruins of the Sept of Baelor and witness Cersei being crowned Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
Lord Frey toasts the alliance of his house and the Lannisters before telling Jaime he has taken Edmure Tully prisoner once again. Disinterested in the proceedings, Jaime asks Lord Frey to explain why the Lannisters need them if they constantly call for help.
As Lord Frey digs into a piece of pie, he asks the serving girl about his sons. The serving girl gestures to the pie, peeling off the crust to reveal a human digit. Arya peels off her disguise, announces herself, and slits Lord Frey's throat, crossing another name off her list.
Sam, Gilly, and Little Sam arrive at the Citadel to start Sam's training. Sam is allowed to wait in the library, which is truly massive.
Davos interrupts Jon and Melisandre to force Melisandre to admit to burning Shireen at the stake. She spreads the blame on Stannis and Selyse as well, but Davos demands her execution. Jon instead decides to send her south in exile.
Sansa apologizes to Jon for not telling him about Littlefinger's army. Jon accepts the apology and emphasizes the trust they need to survive their numerous foes. Sansa informs him a white raven has heralded Winter's arrival.
Littlefinger openly expresses his love for Sansa in the Godswood, describing his end goal of sitting the Iron Throne with her at his side. Sansa turns him down, after which he warns her against ceding control of her house.
Jon speaks to the gathered northerners in an attempt to unite them against the greater evil beyond The Wall. They are reluctant until Lyanna Mormont challenges them all, telling them "The North Remembers". She swears her forces to Jon's cause, and House Manderly, House Glover, and the rest follow in short order declaring Jon "King in the North".
Olenna Tyrell meets with the Sand Snakes after the events in King's Landing. Varys confirms the vengeful alliance for Daenerys.
Daenerys orders Daario to remain in Meereen and keep the peace until a new leader can be elected. Daario wants to travel with Dany, but she insists he stay, citing the potential value of a Westerosi alliance sealed with marriage. She admits to Tyrion she felt nothing while breaking Daario's heart; Tyrion consoles her ineffectually, and confirms his loyalty. She names him Hand of the Queen, affixing the symbol to his chest.
Dany and her supporters (dragons, Unsullied, Dothraki, Greyjoys, and small council) set sail under the Targaryen banner.
North of The Wall
Benjen leaves Bran and Meera within sight of The Wall, explaining that the spells worked into its construction prevent beings like himself from passing. Seeing a weirwood tree, Bran wargs back to the Tower of Joy again.
The Tower of Joy
Ned follows the sound of screams up the tower steps to find his sister Lyanna on a bloody bed. She whispers in his ear and demands a promise to "protect him" before one of the attending ladies hands him a newborn baby: Jon Snow.
Cersei really went full Rampage and detonated all of her nearby enemies in one move. I was surprised to see Margaery killed, but perhaps more disappointed with the High Sparrow's refusal to allow an evacuation. It may not have mattered, but for someone portrayed as intelligent, his slow response was surprising. The same goes for Lancel, our reformed cousin-lover in the tunnels below the Sept. I know you got stabbed, and I'm sure it's incredibly painful, but when a cache of Wildfyre is about to go off, maybe you should will yourself to move a bit quicker. The most interesting moment (to me) came at the very end, though: Jaime looks almost horrified watching Cersei accepts her crown. Cersei executed her plan, but if she was expecting Jaime's support, she may be surprised.
Jaime's mockery of Lord Frey was fun, but Arya one-upped him in grand fashion and went straight for the jugular. Extremely satisfying to see her exact revenge on such a hated character, even if I'm not sure how she managed to kill and cook two grown men without drawing any attention. Maybe she used multiple disguises to gain access to the kitchen after hours?
Sam has a lot of books to read! I'm sure he'll find something important in there before the story ends.
It was nice of Sansa to apologize for withholding information from Jon, but I would have appreciated an attempted explanation. I'm still perplexed as to why she would let Jon and their army go into battle outnumbered with reinforcements en route. Jon seems okay with it, though, and Sansa seems accepting of his being declared King in the North. If she isn't, she should speak up soon, because Jon is right to stress trust in their precarious position. One more thing: I'm sad another episode passed without Tormund and Brienne reuniting, but at least we have Lyanna Mormont. She's a total boss, and her nut-checking every Northern house was the highlight of the episode.
It's a smart move and an interesting development for the Queen of Thorns to ally herself with the Sand Snakes, but her verbal smackdown took the cake in this scene. Dorne and The Reach (where the Tyrells rule) have a long history of disagreements, but the Lannisters are a perfect mutual enemy. Adding their support to the Targaryen cause is a huge boon for Dany. She'll gain a secure foothold in Westeros with Dorne and the best-provisioned army in the Seven Kingdoms with the Tyrells. It's possible the Tyrell line is doomed with the deaths of Margaery, Loras, and Mace, as the show has not mentioned any other siblings.
Daenerys continues to heed Tyrion's advice, which is a positive indicator for her potential as a ruler. We'll all be sad to lose Daario, but maybe he can find Jorah and resume their frienemy banter. The army headed for Westeros is massive, even before accounting for the dragons.
Benjen did his piece, delivering Bran and Meera to The Wall. Now they'll present themselves to the Night's Watch and ask permission to enter.
It was great to get confirmation on the Jon Snow theory, and concluding the Tower of Joy provided a nice moment of closure. Lyanna was brought to the Tower of Joy by Rhaegar Targaryen under conditions varying by storyteller. She didn't seem captive to me.
Lore: R + L = J
Will Jaime support the new Queen Cersei? I'm sure he'll be upset with Tommen's death, but will it be enough to break the (occasionally repulsive) bond he shares with his twin sister? He certainly looked unhappy watching Cersei crowned, and I think he's having flashbacks to Robert's Rebellion, when he forsook his sacred vows to prevent the Mad King Aerys from doing exactly what she did. If the relationship is irreparably fractured, he might return to lead the Lannister army rather than stay near.
What does Cersei have to gain by remaining in King's Landing? After years of scheming and suffering, Cersei has acquired the power she yearned for at a staggering cost. Now that she has it, is it worth holding onto? The people of King's Landing already detested her and most of House Lannister. Of the Seven Kingdoms, the only one on their side is the one they hold by ancestral right. The Reach and Dorne are united against her, the North and the Vale are united against her, the Riverlands are again in flux, and the Iron Islands are divided. It might make more sense for Cersei and the Lannisters to fall back to Casterly Rock, but Cersei isn't thinking logically anymore.
What happens to the Riverlands now? Arya has thrown another wrench into the works of a region embattled since the beginning of the story's conflict. Edmure is a captive, and there are many Frey children to take control of The Twins, but it's an opportune time for someone like the Blackfish to rally House Tully back to Riverrun. Oh, that's right, he gave up and died earlier. Perhaps the Brotherhood without Banners?
What will Gilly and Young Sam do? Sam clearly has a lot of reading to do, but what will his companions do while he works? They can't stay at the Citadel, so hopefully Sam has the means to put them up in the city while he studies.
Is Sansa content taking a backseat to Jon? Sansa wasn't power-hungry in the past, but Action-Sansa was calling many of the shots until this point. She seemed happy for Jon as he was declared King in the North, but I can't see her stepping away from the game entirely. Perhaps she'll serve a role similar to The Hand, helping Jon with the many matters she has a better feel for.
How did Varys get to Dorne and back so quickly? I've complained many times about time-fudgery in this show, particularly over the course of this season. I think this was a legitimate time-jump, though, with weeks passing between Varys's appearance in Dorne and the departure of the Targaryen fleet. More importantly, his presence means Dany is aware of the disarray in King's Landing and Westeros in general. Also, one of my predictions was correct!
If Benjen can't pass The Wall, what do the Seven Kingdoms have to fear from the White Walkers? Benjen told Bran the dead cannot pass The Wall because of the protective spells built into it. If the magic he speaks of behaves similarly to that protecting the Three-Eyed Raven's cave, Bran may undo the spells by crossing The Wall with the Night King's mark. Seems like something you might want to mention, Bran.
What does Jon Snow's ancestry mean? Jon may be half-Targaryen and half-Stark, but he's still a bastard unless Rhaegar and Lyanna got married on their way south to the Tower of Joy. It's possible, but Rhaegar was already married to Elia Martell. If Jon is legitimate, he would have a claim to the Iron Throne in addition to the seat at Winterfell. More likely to me is that as part-Targaryen Jon may be able to bond with a dragon. He's about as far as you can get from Dany and her dragons, but I think they'll meet eventually. Aegon the Conqueror had three dragons and three riders; Dany has the former but only one of the latter.