"Game of Thrones" is a show that, for the past six seasons, has captivated me like none other. The thing that got me with this show in particular was its intense and expansive storyline, paired with great performances by the actors (to the point where I now only refer to said actors by their characters’ names) and phenomenal overall production.
Even so, fans were a tad worried about how this season would play out, considering this was the first one without a George R.R. Martin book to lead the way. I can confidently say, however, that the showmakers didn’t let us down this season. They delivered; oh man, did they deliver.
The season finale, "The Winds of Winter," began with the preparation for Cersei Lannister and Loras Tyrell’s trial by the gods. As I said last week, the High Sparrow banned trial by combat, forcing Cersei to answer for her sins ... or so they thought.
At King’s Landing, we watched as each participating member began preparing for the grueling trial up ahead. King Tommen, Queen Margaery, the High Sparrow, Grand Maester Pycelle and Cersei all put on their robes and intricate gowns, all in honor of the demise of two prominent figures. Cersei dressed in all black leather, poured a glass of wine and gazed on the church where the trials were to be held. She was now about to watch a show, and what a show it was, indeed.
King Tommen was finally ready to be a man and look his mother in the eye as she was to learn her fate; however, The Mountain prevented him from leaving his chambers.
The trial for Loras Tyrell was downright demeaning. This man, once a respected royal member, was now dragged into a great hall for all to see. He wore his shame on his sleeve, as he confessed to homosexuality, arrogance, dishonesty, depravity and a few other things. He weeped as he renounced his royal title and vowed to devote his life to the gods, something that we all know he did simply because Margaery begged him to roll with the punches. It’s quite interesting to see how much some are willing to give up for their lives, but to what cost? As a way of showing mercy, the High Sparrow had the symbol of The Seven carved into his forehead, blood dripping to his feet as he stood without any dignity left.
The High Sparrow had Lancel Lannister and his soldiers go fetch Cersei at the Red Keep, the very thing Cersei wanted. This scene in particular had me on the edge of my seat; an intense, heartbreaking score played in the background as many faced their last moments. There were multiple facets to the upcoming moment, revealing just how intricate Cersei’s plan truly was. Grand Maester Pycelle was lead into a trap by Qyburn, Cersei’s new right-hand man, and was brutally murdered by Cersei’s Little Birds. Qyburn once promised Cersei that her Little Birds would help her get what she wanted, and he surely followed through on that promise. I once doubted having the Little Birds as her eyes and ears would help her gain power, and I now sit here, eating my words.
Lancel Lannister met his demise by following one of the Little Birds into the crypts of the church, only to be swiftly shanked when he least expected it. Margaery kept her wits about her and called Cersei’s bluff; both Cersei and the King weren’t in attendance, and she knew that meant trouble. Neither Margaery nor Lancel could prevent the inevitable, however, asbarrels of flammable liquids sat in the crypt, waiting to wreak havoc on those in the church’s vicinity. Everyone within the church burned — everyone from House Tyrell (except Lady Olenna), the High Sparrow and the Seven, as well as all their little Sparrows and followers. In one swoop, Cersei took care of all those who stood in her way of power. She gazed upon the burning church with glee as she graciously sipped her glass of wine. Man, that woman is evil incarnate. Yes, she was humiliated by the Sparrows, but her sins far surpassed her absolutely getting away with the things she’s done.
Cersei was sure to have Septa Unella captured and brought to her dungeons for further reckoning. Unella was awoken by the sweet splashings of Cersei’s wine and told to confess for her sins. Cersei was visibly enjoying taunting Unella, especially when she was forced to confess some sins of her own. Cersei pointed out the obvious: Septa Unella didn’t torture Cersei because she cared about her atonement, but because torturing her felt good.
Cersei once promised Septa Unella that her face was the last she was to see before she died, and as we all know, a Lannister always keeps her promises. Unfortunately for Unella, her death was going to be slow and painful beyond belief. Unella was ready to meet her gods, but not before she repeatedly faced The Mountain. Before being resurrected, The Mountain was known as a serial rapist who smashed the heads of people and babies just for the hell of it. Who can say what he’ll do to Septa Unella now. Cersei walked out of the room as Unella’s blood-curdling cries echoed throughout the dungeons. "Shame. Shame. Shame," recited Cersei as closed the door on her past and The Mountain began to perform his worst on Unella.
The scene with Cersei and Septa Unella was both heartbreaking and painful to watch. All I could do was give a low, "Damn," under my breath as I watched it play out. The extent of evil embedded within Cersei’s soul is beyond measure. The whole situation is very deep; especially since Cersei was now releasing her own form of hell onto the one who did so to her for so long. She kept her promise, and then some — talk about payback!
Poor little King Tommen watched from his chambers as his whole future burned at the city center. His guilt couldn’t bare the burden of what Cersei had done, so he quietly removed his crown and proceeded to jump out the window. Cersei asked to see his body, then ordered Qyburn to have his body burned and his ashes spread over where the Scepton stood. Cold. Blooded. She could have given him an honorable burial, but refused because he chose what he thought was right for the kingdom over her. Tommen may have been a king, but he was a child nonetheless, a child who was forced to marry Margaery Tyrell and make grand decisions as a ruler. Instead of pitying his innocent soul, she condemned it to the scraps of all those who stood in her way.
At the Twins castle, Walder Frey celebrated his house taking Riverrun. He decided not to kill Edmure Tully, his son by law, because "it would give the family a bad name." I think you already got that covered Frey. You’ve gained your properties by ruthlessly slaughtering other royalty without honor. He bragged to Jaime Lannister about his success and how the both of them, the two king slayers, know the power in being feared. Jaime wasn’t impressed, and neither was I.
It was time for the dirty ol’ man Walder Frey to meet his maker, and whataya know — Arya Stark was the one to send him there! Arya placed Walder Frey on her kill list after the Red Wedding and has waited patiently to get her hands on him. She wore a face of a servant, killed his sons, fed them to Frey in his meat pie and proceeded to slit his throat with a giddy smile upon her face. It took a while, but all her training as No One has led her to that very satisfying moment.
Meanwhile, Samwell Tarly finally made his way to the Citadel, with Gilly and Little Sam. Now that he’ll be training to be a Grand Maester, he’s going to have some serious knowledge on a lot of things. Since Sam is one of the only known people to kill a White Walker up close and personal, he might very well study up on the various ways to defeat them for the upcoming war. Since the Citadel doesn’t allow women or children, where will Little Sam and Gilly go?
Back to King's Landing. After all her treachery, Cersei now sits on the Iron Throne where she’s wanted to be all along. She now gets the power she’s so craved – but at the cost of all her children’s lives. Jaime arrived back to King’s Landing just in time to watch his twin sister, the love of his life and mother of his now deceased children, take a throne that he has every right to as well. Jaime is loyal to Cersei to a fault, to the point where he won’t even lay with another woman. The irony is, I don’t think he would dare challenge Cersei for that throne; he loves her too much, and she doesn’t love him enough to refrain from killing him if he dared defy her. Seriously, how deep is this show, people?
Back at Winterfell, not much celebration is happening after their win against the Boltons. Now that his home is won, Jon Snow had a meeting with Davos and Melisandre, where things got a bit heated. Davos made Melisandre confess about burning Stannis Baratheon’s daughter, Shireen, at the stake because the Lord of Light told them to. I agree with Davos bringing this up, because Melisandre made Stannis think that he was the Chosen One — which he obviously wasn’t. This woman has the potential to build Jon Snow up, only to bring him crashing down. She was wrong about Stannis, and no one needs her heavily influencing their operation as well. It was only fair that they sent her on her merry way to the South.
The important thing about Shireen, however, is that she was infected with Greyscale as a baby. Greyscale is the same condition that Jorah Mormont currently is searching for a cure. If Stannis could stop the Greyscale from overtaking Shireen, there’s no doubt in my mind that Jorah will find a cure as well. This means that Daenerys Stormborn has one more loyal follower in her midst.
Jon Snow and Sansa had a nice conversation about their need to trust each other, something that I’m sure the both of them struggle with. I mean, look at all these two have been through — would you be able to wholeheartedly trust anyone for a while? I’m sure they’ll work it out; they have no choice but to do so. At the end of their conversation, Sansa informs Jon that a white raven came from the Citadel; this means that winter is finally here. Their father always promised them that it would, so they can only prepare themselves as best they can.
Meanwhile, Bran Stark was successfully delivered to a safe place near the Wall, along the blood-crying trees needed for his visions. Bran has now finally seen what happened on the day Ned Stark found his sister, Lyanna. Ned found Lyanna dying in a pool of her own blood after childbirth and made him swear to take care of her child. This child, who we all know as Jon Snow, is not only a Stark, but a Targaryan!
This instrumental scene confirms the theory that we all have waited so long to solve: the true origin of Jon Snow. Now that we for sure know that Jon is Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryan’s son; he now has every right to the Iron Throne as anyone else does. I’m sure this probably means that he can arise from flames just like his aunt, Daenerys. The show failed to confirm, however, if Lyanna willingly ran away with Rhaegar, or if he kidnapped her like a madman. In the vision, Lyanna said that she tried to stay strong, but no longer can, and if someone (whom I couldn’t make the name of as she whispered to young Ned) finds the little baby, the child would be sentenced to death. I’m guessing she was talking about her father? Either way, this is a major plot confirmation, folks!
Even though no one’s aware of Jon Snow’s true origin, the people of the North still declared him king. The young and powerful Lyanna Mormont pointed out all of those who turned their back on Jon Snow and furthermore pledged her allegiance to him. Naturally, everyone followed. How could you not want a guy like Jon Snow leading you? He’s wholesome, just and has the whole sexy brooding thing down to a science. Hell, I wouldn’t mind him being my king.
Back in Meereen, Daenerys Stormborn was in a compromising position. Should she give up making meaningful alliances for love? No, she’s not going for it!
Dany’s choice to have Daario stay in Meereen while she sails to Westeros was a great decision. At first, the hopeless romantic within me was upset that she didn’t take Daario’s offer. Luckily, I have others around to talk me out of my fantasy land.
I’m sure you all remember how Dany came to have Daario on her side; he cut off the heads of his fellow partners and reveled in his betrayal to show Dany that he would serve her. Anyone who betrays his own, especially in the name of power, is bound to betray the next person who will get him even more power. And, like Tyrion said, he’s not the first to love Dany, and he won’t be the last. Wise words, Tyrion.
Last week, Lord Varys went on a secret excursion to get Dany some more allies. Well, Varys delivered, as usual, and provided Dany with ships and soldiers from Dorne and what was left of House Tyrell.
Dany now sails to Westeros with her massive fleet of ships, the unsullied, the Greyjoys, the people of Dorne, House Tyrell and her three dragons. This woman is now a force to be reckoned with, just when Cersei thought everything was all peachy. News flash, Cersei: All is not good in the hood.
I absolutely cannot wait for Dany to arrive to Westeros with her massive army! What will Cersei do? Will Cersei’s evil nature win surpass Daenerys’ ambition? After this season, the term "never say never" rules my initial thoughts on the situation.
Until next year, though.
Zoe Benjamin, currently a senior at UW-Milwaukee, was raised in the South suburbs of Chicago. She is a foodie, an avid traveler and music junkie, with just the right amount of nerdiness to top it all off.
Growing up in a large Jamaican family exposed her to a lifestyle full of food, laughter and pride. Zoe’s appreciation for her family’s eclectic nature led her to celebrate the differences in others. She just so happens to especially enjoy the study of food, seeing that eating is her favorite pastime.
Ever since she was able to get on a plane by herself, Zoe has taken the liberty of traveling to every place within her reach -- whether that be the next state over, or across the seas. Her wanderlust has taken her to 10 different countries, with France being her favorite. Nothing excites her more than French food and wine. Zoe hopes to absorb and share as much culture as she can so that the world may become that much more accepting of all the bountiful diversity in the world.