#GoT S6 EP10: Winds Of Winter? Or How I Learned To Love Benioff and Weiss
Oh, Before I Full Scale Sell Out For Benioff and Weiss, some quick thoughts about the Game of Thrones finale.
Okay, I have been kind of hard on the braintrust behind Game of Thrones so far this season.
In case you have forgotten their names in the last 30 seconds, I am referring to David Benioff and D.B. Weiss the people responsible for creating and transposing the TV juggernaut known as HBO"s Game of Thrones.
I do not apologize for most of that (I fully believe they often fully deserved my scorn for their shortcuts and sell-outs).
However, I frequently give them massive credit for having done successfully an impossibly hard job in translating what, if they had tried to pull a "Chris Columbus" (see Harry Potter movies) version of George R.R. Martin's A Song Of Ice and Fire we might still be watching parts of A Game Of Thrones (the first book in the series).
That was a long way of saying that as often as I complain, and I complain a lot, the series did need to be compressed to work on screen.
I will go one step further, Benioff and Weiss did an amazing job on this episode. I will have a few complaints but, on the whole, this was a GREAT episode.
Oh fine, I still hated the Battle of the Bastards, but sometimes you guys are pretty good.
This episode is really about setting the order of battle for next season, so I am going to divide it up by team.
As always, if you have not seen Season 6 Episode 10 "The Winds Of Winter" quit reading now. In other words, *Spoiler Alert*
The Worst Kept Secret In The World Is FInally Revealed (Officially) - Let's Start With Team Direwolf
R + L = J (Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon) one of the oldest theories ever held in the cyberverse about A Song Of Ice And Fire has been confirmed officially. Jon is half Man + Half Bearpig (I'm Cereal, I'm super Cereal).
Okay fine, half Stark half Targaryan.
Look, there are already articles whose authors are drooling all over themselves to call this the greatest moment in the history of the show which is a little hard to stomach given that Benioff and Weiss admitted years ago that George R.R. Martin revealed this to them (plus there were just too many hints in the books...yes, even for an idiot like me to miss).
Let me also mention that if the theory were not true, what was the point of the Bran watching Ned save Lyanna Stark's life flashback with Mr. Three Eyed Crow (Max Von Sydow)? It wasn't a secret, but it was a secret.
Fine, I will play along. It is nice to see the "mystery" finally put to rest. It was also, more or less a well-done scene.
Oh, also, Jon gets unanimously elected King of the North by all of the houses of the North.
This is one of my only "issues" with this episode.
Jon did not exactly cover himself in glory in the "Battle of the Bastards" (no matter if you liked the battle or not). In fact, he got his half-Targaryan ass kicked by Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon). So, it makes very little sense that all of the Lords in the North (who have rapidly descended on Winterfell to crown someone) are drooling all over themselves to pin their hopes to a guy who just about got his whole army massacred.
Okay, I get that the alternative is Sansa (Sophie Turner) and they do show Sansa decide to step down in favor of Jon. I am not entirely sure why Sansa, after finally learning to be a realist, steps down. The only real reason suggested is that she does not want to marry Peter Baelish aka Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen). I guess that they are suggesting that the only way the Lords would back her claim is if she had the Knights of the Vale behind her which would require a marriage to Baelish (whatever happened to Sweet Sweet Robyn I wonder?).
But is that really true? Didn't she kind of just win the battle herself? Doesn't she still have a better claim (as far as everyone in the North knows)?
I don't see her angle in all this, aside from disabusing Littlefinger of his dream (he says he has always had a vision of himself on the Iron Throne with Sansa at his side). I hope she actually has one aside from expediency for B & W.
Also a little sad to finally see Lord Manderly and find out he isn't a whale (his main distinguishing feature in the books is that he is as big as a barn). Look, you already killed off Prince Doran of Dorne (a machiavellian maestro in the books) and now you take away the whole persona hiding the other remaining maestro who hides his genius behind his frailty? Why? Give us Lord Whale for Goodness sakes.
Okay enough complaining.
As I predicted, Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham) confronts Jon with the evidence of Melisandre's murder of Shireen. For some reason, Melisandre gives up the ghost and admits to the whole thing. She tries to convince Jon that she is vital to beating the Night King but he isn't buying it. He exiles her to the South and says that if she ever returns he will have her hung.
She rides off for the South without a peep. And here I thought she had regained her faith.
Okay, four other quick things:
1. Jon Makes it clear that the war is not over and clear that he means war with the White Walkers because you see, "Winter has Arrived."
Like people in our world, people in the North apparently love to check the Weather Channel.
Sure it may be snowing outside and really cold, but until the white crow arrived from the Citadel proclaiming the arrival of winter you just can't trust your eyes and toes..
So, the Stark's, all of the forces of the North, and presumably all of the forces defending the Wall are getting ready to fight White Walkers. For reals and cereal (I'm super cereal guys).
2. Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) has found a new tree. Benjen (Joseph Mawle) drops him off and says he can't stay because he is dead and the tree is protected by powerful magics that repel the dead. Is it fair of me to ask why they didn't use this same magic on the last tree? Look I dig Max Von Sydow, but the former Three-Eyed Crow was pretty awful at his job.
All Hail the New Three Eyed Crow (may he be much better than the last Three Eyed Crow).
Bran is probably setting up to aid team kill the Knight King as well. Hopefully, he will be able to figure out how to use some serious time magic to mess up the Knight King.
3. Fan favorite Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) shows off her "bad-assery" again. Basically, when they are deciding if they should follow Jon Stark she gets up and gives a "shame on all of you traitors" speech. "There is one King in the North and his name is Stark (Jon Stark)."
Oh, in case you are confused, Bran knows Jon is a Starkgaryan and you and I know, but the other fine folks of the North can't Greensee, so he is still Jon Snowstark to them.
4. Samwell Tarly (John Bradley-West) has made it all the way to the Citadel. And is allowed access to "The Library" which is massive. My guess is many of the weapons Jon will use to ultimately defeat the White Walkers will be found by Sam in the library (with a candlestick).
Long Live Jon Manbearpig King of the North!
Cersei Lannister Queen of Just About Nobody - What's Up With Team Lion
There are a few clunky moments in the Kings Landing portion of the finale (why, for instance, would the High Sparrow who has been nothing but patient and smart be so stupid in this scene? Oh right, expediency. adios Jonathan Pryce) but the resolution of King's Landing pretty much redeemed the whole season for me.
Not because it always made 100% logical sense, but because it was the first scene in all six seasons to really expose Cersei's fatal flaw.
Cersei (Lena Headey) has always been so consumed with revenge and taking joy in creating misfortune for those that she hates that she ALWAYS fucks up the long game.
Her inability to see beyond her cruelty and cleverness to real strategy has always been at the core of why she has failed over and over again (be it in the books or on the television show).
This has NEVER been demonstrated better than it was in this episode. It was frankly amazingly deployed.
Once Cersei learns she can't have Ser Robert Strong aka Gregor Clegane (who knows who plays him now) defend her in trial by combat, she decides to have Maester Qyburn (get it Qy-BURN) round up all the remaining Wildfire (remember Cersei saw Tyrion use wildfire to defeat Stannis in the battle of the Blackwater when he was Hand of the King) and get ready to detonate it under the Sept where her trial is to be held.
One quick aside, I have no idea what publication Romper is, but they actually published an article tonight called "Is Cersei Behind The Fire On Game of Thrones." Surely you can't be serious?
As opposed to whom? Of course she is behind the fire
I don't want to call anyone stupid but holy smokes, you published that?.
It doesn't help that the article starts with "while we can all agree that the Battle of the Bastards was one of the best sequences on Game of Thrones ever (so, yup, stupid it is, no offense, I am just saying you probably like Maroon 5 too).
Anyway, this sequence is classic Cersei. For once, they actually let a George R.R. Martin character be 100% true to herself (in the books, in order to sabotage King's Landing and make it ready for Daenerys, Varys kills Kevan Lannister (competent) to ensure Cersei will be in charge (incompetent at ruling)
She hates that her own Son loves Margaery (Natalie Dormer) more than he loves his own Mother, so Margaery and the rest of the Tyrell's have to go. She forgets that her son chose Margaery over her and that he is not exactly made of particularly stern stuff so she saves him only to see him commit suicide.
Forget that the bulk of Kings Landing only continues to eat because of the Tyrell's and that the Tyrell's were one of the only families powerful enough to keep the Lion on the Throne. Olenna (Diana Rigg) insulted her before leaving and Margaery took her son, so adios to all of the Tyrell's (except Olenna).
She wants revenge on the Sparrow, so she kills her own Nephew (soldier of the seven and former lover) who is the son of one Kevan Lannister (Ian Gelder, Kevan is the titular head of the Casterly Rock Lannisters who is also killed) which may mean she cannot entirely count of support from her own family.
So,, as she always has, she sets up a scenario to protect her and give her back her power, but at the cost of virtually any hope of long term power. In fact, what was she doing as her Son commits suicide? She was getting her pleasure avenging herself (torturing) on the nun who was in charge of making her life miserable when she was imprisoned by the High Sparrow.
It is a particularly brutal scene in many ways but it lays out the pure Cersei that George R.R. Martin intended.
She gives an amazing speech about how she is primarily by how things feel:
* She "drinks wine" because it "feels good" (giving a nod to her internet fans for whom wine drinking is her defining feature)
* She killed her husband because it felt good to do it
* She fucks her brother because it feels good
* She even confesses because it feels good ("under the right circumstances" chuckle)
She does everything because she values the feeling. She is so dead emotionally after all of the horrors she has experienced and committed that all she has is what things can make her feel in the short term.
Beautifully done Benioff and Weiss. Kudos. For once, you served the character instead of changing the character to fit whatever scene was in your head.
Seriously, this was brilliantly deployed.
Oh, this also was the fulfillment of that witches prophecy when she was a girl (that she would live to see all of her children die).
So, where does that leave us.
Well, Cersei is crowned Queen of Westeros but nominally rules the parts of King's Landing that were not blown up by the Wildfire. She has already pissed off the Dorne and virtually everyone else hates her.
She is not really a planner (and neither is Jamie really). Cersei serves Cersei and has approximately three allies:
1) Ser Jamie of Twincest (maybe with Ser Bronn?)
2) Maester QyBURN of Frankenstein (and his little birds)
3) Ser Robert Strong (aka The Mountain)
I guess they have some Lannister forces loyal to Jamie?
They have no idea that they are about to be at war with an armada, an army, and three dragons (plus her "beloved" brother). She has no military allies really. And she is one of the most hated people in Westeros.
Arguably, she still has The Freys (the most hated family in all of Westeros). Or does she?
MY NAME IS Arya Stark - Team Direwolf (Assassins + Ninja Division)
So good old Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) takes the time to leave Riverrun to go shore up the Lannister's alliance with the Frey's.
Well, actually, in true Lannister fashion, he demeans and insults good old Walder Frey and then talks to Bronn (Jerome Flynn) about who Bronn should sleep with.
Oh, and this one serving girl, who we have never seen before, is conspicuously paying serious attention to Ser Jamie of Twincest.
Later we see Jamie safe and sound at Queen Cersei's coronation, so he and Ser Bronn apparently get out of The Twins (where the Freys reside) in one piece.
But then we see the serving girl again alone with Walder Frey (David Bradley aka Filch) in the hall after the dinner is over.
She is feeding him something that looks a bit like lasagne.
He asks where his sons are. She keeps insisting that they are right in front of him.
Turns out the lasagne is made out of Frey meats.
The serving girl pulls off her mask and "surprise," it's Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) and she has names to mark off her good old hit list.
Yes, the Freys were on it. And after a few minutes of taking joy in the demise of Walder Frey and his sons by her own hand, she can mark them straight off her list.
By the way, this is EXACTLY what Arya should be like. She is a brutal and bad ass assassin in the books. We can debate whether that is ultimately a good or bad thing but I was sick and tired of seeing her as an incompetent and easily beaten assassin.
Again, kudos to Benioff and Weiss for letting the character be who she is!
Oh and guess who else was on Arya's list? One Cersei Lannister. (and the Mountain).
Yup, Cersei has very few remaining friends and a really long list of powerful enemies (coming to get her).
Embarrassing Admissions: I Actually Teared Up For Tyrion - Team Drogon the Dragon
So, three important things on the Daenerys side of the pond.
1. It's finally ON.
Finally the Meereenese knot is untied.
Daenerys packed up the truck and she is heading to Westeros (finally). But she found troops not oil and her trucks are boats backed up by Dragons. You get the point.
Daenerys has an armada full of ships, soldiers, iron born pirates, horses, a dwarf, a translator, and three dragons heading straight for Westeros (wish I had a punchline for this).
Oh, she also left Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) in charge of keeping Meereen copasetic. He was not pleased (doesn't matter, I predict we never see Meereen again).
Oh, and Varys (Conleth Hill) can apparently teleport (he bounced to Dorne and back in like five minutes of show-time).
The Game is on. Sounds like Team Lion will be fighting team Dragon fairly soon (team Lion will likely gain Euron Greyjoy as a naval ally). I suspect North fights Walkers and the rest fight for the Iron Throne.
At some point a North-South conflict may be inevitable, unless they learn that the King of the North and the Queen of the South are actually related (manbearpig remember).
2. Dorn and Tyrell are now on Team Dragon
Yup, the secret mission Varys was sent on was to recruit Dorn and the ruling ladies of Dorn recruited, you guessed it, Olenna Tyrell (who may actually kill Cersei with lasers from her eyes at this point).
Food is going to be mighty scarce for team Lion very soon I suspect.
3. Tyrion is Finally Appreciated
Look, I will finally admit that Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) has and will always be my guy on GoT. He was my guy in the books and he is my guy on the show.
For virtually the entire 6000 pages of ASOIAF Tyrion has been doing good work and never getting ANY love.
He almost got killed for winning the Battle of the Blackwater (while Cersei sat around drinking suicide levels of wine). He helped his father 100 times only to be mocked and shamed. He even tried to help Joffrey only to almost get killed for that too.
Maybe the greatest moment in the history of #GoT for me was when Daenerys reveals that she is making Tyrion "Hand of the Queen." She even had a traditional Hand pin made up for him. Dinklage really got it too, you could see how much it meant, after all the years of being a punchline to his whole family, to finally be appreciated by someone he loves and respects.
Not going to lie...I misted up.
Good on you Tyrion. Glad you finally had your moment.
Of course this is Game of Thrones, so he will probably be flayed alive at the beginning of next season. But this was a pure joy moment for me. It was also, again, totally true to Tyrion's character.
This is getting a bit old already but thank you Benioff and Weiss.
Okay, the great game might be terrifying but it is finally ready to really roll. The armies are being deployed.
This is going to be fun.
I even have a bit more confidence in the braintrust after two seasons of getting pretty mad at them (as a show of good faith I gave zero Jar-Jar awards this week).
So another season is over. I was particularly proud of the piece explaining Hodor.
Don't forget my Mr. Robot Season 2 recaps start up in just a few weeks.
Can't wait for Season 7. Oh, and the Battle of the Bastards was really stupid.
What did you think of the finale? Let ,me know, leave a comment!