The Winds of Winter Blow Through the Game of Thrones Finale

The highest body count to date, revenge is served, fleets are launched, and winter has finally arrived.

The season finale of Game of Thrones has come and gone. “Winds of Winter” opened, as we knew it would, in King’s landing in a much somber mood than usual. The simple piano with strings heightened the mood of the trial of Loras Tyrell and Cersei. It was a serious affair, but there was more going on than the trial.

The trial of Loras Tyrell
The lighting and position of the actors in the trial bring to mind classic paintings. High Sparrow may have laughed first, but we know who laughs longest.

In true Game of Thrones fashion, something big happened. In the past week the internet had been a buzz with what Cersei was going to do in the finale. Was she going to burn King’s Landing or was she going to do something else? What happened was nothing short of a coup d’etat.

Cersei, the master manipulator, set up everything. Lancel was lured away from the Great Sept and killed so he couldn’t do anything to prevent what was going to happen. She used the High Sparrow’s pride against him and gambled the anger he felt towards her would be enough to keep him in place. Cersei’s gamble paid off.

It was too late by the time Queen Margaery realized something wasn’t right. Cersei didn’t burn King’s Landing she blew the Grand Sept sky high killing everyone, Queen Margaery and the High Sparrow included.

Queen Cersei on the Iron Thrones
Was it a coup d’etat or a happy accident?

Over the past couple of episodes we saw Tommen pull away from Cersei. Cersei’s control on him was all but gone after his conversation with the High Sparrow. Cersei also realized her days were numbered if she let him stay on the Throne with the High Sparrow still in play. Cersei decided the moment she had become persona non grata in the kingdom to move against both Sparrow and Tommen. The first person she removed from play was Jamie who was far away from King’s Landing.

What we saw in “Winds of Winter” was nothing short of a coup d’etat. Cersei usurped the Iron Throne. It will be argued the Mountain was blocking Tommen from going to the Gran Sept and being blown up with everyone else. This may be true, but Cersei wasn’t going to let Tommen stay on the throne. Tommen jumping to his death may not have been part of her plan, but it didn’t hurt that no one was left to stand in her way.

Jon and Sansa standing at Winterfell
Will Jon and Sansa rule together?

Two things had to occur  to set up next season. First,  Jon had to secure his power in the North. Internet chatter had Sansa as the ruler in the North,The Queen of the North as it were. Jon would rule through Sansa? In the end, Jon was recognized as King of the North.

It seems if there is going to be a war for the Iron Throne Jon Snow and the North may not be involved. From what we have learned over the past six seasons the North would be just fine to let everyone else fight over it. Also, Jon doesn’t mention anything about moving on King’s Landing like Robb wanted to do before his death at the Red Wedding. Jon is focused on the Night King and the war against the dead. All his resources and alliances should be dedicated towards that one goal.

Ships sailing on Dragon's Bay
How long will it take for Daenerys’ fleet to land in Westeros?

The second, Daenerys had to move on Westeros. The scenes in Meereen were more set up for next season, but it should serve to dispel internet theories of Daenerys going off the rails like her father. Her actions and speech were not those of someone on the edge of madness. Maybe keeping Tyrion for his council was more to keep that madness away, but leaving Meereen to rule itself is not the actions of a crazy person. Daenerys was in her right mind when she sailed for Westeros.

Tyrion speaking to Danerys
The Hand of the Queen

The question is will Daenerys, her dragons, and her fleet arrive just as fast as Varys arrived in Dorne. Varys arrived in Dorne with enough time to convince Arianne Martell to make some sort of treaty with Daenerys and, we can assume, broker a deal with Olenna Tyrell. It wouldn’t be too far fetched if we were to guess in season seven we see an army composed of the Houses of Martell, Greyjoy, and Tyrell lead into battle by Daenerys.

“Winds of Winter” was chalked full of awesome moments and great scenes. We learned that everyone on the internet was correct- Jon Snow is Lyanna Stark’ son. The scene of the Greyjoys on deck of their ship looking up at the dragons was pretty awesome even if the scene was meant only to remind us the fleet heading to Westeros was Ironborn. Tommen looking at the burning Sept, taking off his crown, and walking away only to come back into the frame to jump to his death was jaw dropping. However, there were two scenes that stood above almost everything else.

Arya kills Walder
Arya takes one more name of her list. How many more until she reaches the Hound?

The minute long scene of Walder Frey and Jamie Lannister talking or the few seconds of Bronn comedy would have been filler in any other episode. The finale used it as set dressing to hide Arya. How she arrived so quickly and on time for the big feast is a discussion for another time. What’s important is how Arya went all Hannibal Lecter on Walder. Where will she head to next may depend on where season seven opens and who is left on her list. Can the Hound be far behind?

The second best scene involved Lady Mormont. She showed us she was tough in The Broken Man. In “Winds of Winter” she embarrassed all the houses of the North. It should be remembered that it wasn’t Jon nor Sansa who convinced the houses to united under Jon, it was a child. After Lady Mormont was finished her tongue lashing it didn’t matter if Jon was a bastard or if he had a legitimate claim to the Iron Throne.

Lady Mormont talking to the Houses of the North
Out of the mouths of babes

After six seasons, the pieces are finally in place for the eventual war for the Iron Throne. If we only have two more seasons then things will have to move at quicker pace than season six did or even season five. Story wise, we should be far enough off the books for things to move faster than in the past. There’s enough material there to make these next two seasons the best Game of Thrones has to offer.