Game of Thrones S6 E10 Recap: Winter is Here

(Photo Courtesy of HBO)

Three “television enthusiasts,” the dynamic brother-sister duo of Marci and Rusty Buehler and Zac Hirschbeck, watch Game of Thrones each Sunday night and exchange their thoughts on the show’s happenings.

Marci: OH MY GOD YOU GUYS! WINTER IS HERE, BITCHES! What a great episode to wrap up Season 6. I’d say the coolest scene was when Samwell walked into that big library, right?!! There were so many books and you know how much he loves those books! LOL JUST KIDDING GUYS. I liked all the scenes with violence, death and torture. So this episode was right in my wheelhouse.

11 series-regular or recurring cast members were given the axe this week (statistic courtesy of ew.com), we found out the identity of Jon Snow’s mum, and lots of action was set in motion for both Dany’s advancement on the Iron Throne and Jon Snow’s reign in the north. Oh, and Arya’s begun her killing spree as the faceless ninja warrior that she is.

I guess I’ll start off with the beginning of the episode, which opens at the trial for Loras & Cersei in the Sept of Baelor. Margaery watches on as Loras confesses his sins and says he will denounce the Tyrell name and give his life over to religion. But as they’re carving the crazy star into her brother’s forehead, Margaery realizes something’s not right—where was Cersei? “SHE MUST BE UP TO SOMETHING,” Margaery proclaimed. She was right. But what?

Well, Cersei was sick of the High Sparrow and all his religious shit, so she did what anyone would do in her situation—she killed everyone involved using a hidden stash of wildfire underneath the Sept. This sequence also included a gang of kids slashing Maester Pycelle to death, and knifing the High Sparrow’s main thug. Needless to say, the High Sparrow and pretty much all of his followers were killed in the explosion – plus Margaery, Loras and Mace Tyrell.

Cersei was quite pleased with herself as she poured a glass of wine and watched the explosion from her Keep – it was like a great 4th of July fireworks finale. Her satisfaction was cut short, however, when Tommen jumped out of his window after hearing what happened to his wife and the others. Now with all her children gone, Cersei has taken the Iron Throne herself, to the eerie chant of “Long may she reign!” I was particularly interested in Jaime Lannister watching the coronation in this scene – was he proud of his sister, or angry, or jealous? Had he already heard of his son’s death? Will he suspect that Cersei had something to do with it? How deep is their twin love?

Another notable scene from this plot was the scene where Cersei begins her revenge on the mean “SHAME” nun – introducing her to The Mountain, and declaring that “This is your god now.” It’s weird that amidst all the craziness and chaos in this show, I find myself rooting for characters who normally would be seen as villains, like Cersei. In this case, I thoroughly enjoyed her revenge. That nun was a real jerk!

Oh man, I feel like I’m just scratching the surface of last night’s episode – what’d you guys think?!

 

Zac: This show continues to raise the bar each and every week. After last week’s “Battle of the Bastards,” I was prepared for the pace to slow in the Season 6 finale. However, while David Benioff and D.B. Weiss may have dedicated most of Episode 10 to redirecting many of Game of Thrones’ storylines and character arcs, they did so in breathtaking fashion.

While I really don’t spend any of my television or movie consumption analyzing the product’s directing, for the second consecutive week Miguel Sapochnik’s contributions took me aback. Though it was hard to top the sheer brutality of last week’s battle in the North, the first 30 minutes of this week’s installation was somehow just as tense. From the dialogue-less buildup to Loras’ trial, to the execution of Cersei and Qyburn’s (and all of his child-helpers) plan, to the decimation of every single one of the Queen Mother’s adversaries via wildfire, Sapochnik (and composer Ramin Djawaid) crafted one incredible scene after another. Amazingly, on a show where death usually comes in the form of gruesome violence, the moment in King’s Landing that stood out among the rest for me was Tommen’s suicide. After witnessing the death of his wife and his newly formed religious allies, the youngest of Cersei’s children swiftly lost the will to live. The way Tommen’s demise was filmed was truly a ‘wow’ moment.

I don’t know if you felt the same way, but Cersei didn’t appear to possess nearly the same grief toward Tommen’s death as she did when Joffrey and Myrcella died. Though I’d hesitate to say she was at peace with his death, the wine-swilling Lannister villain was quick to move on. Perhaps that was a product of her new title, her acceptance of the prophecy that’s followed her, or her satisfaction with the destruction of her enemies, but Cersei looked at ease with the decisions that had placed her on the Iron Throne. However, her returning brotherlover didn’t appear to share nearly the same enthusiasm. After sharing with Edmure Tully his intense love for his sister’s no-holds-barred belief in protecting her children, Jaime looked on skeptically as his sister replaced her own son in the most important piece of furniture in Westeros. Plus, seeing as Jaime murdered the Mad King after discovering his plan to similarly deploy wildfire in King’s Landing, it’s hard to imagine Jaime being too geeked to learn of Cersei successfully carrying out the exact same plan. I have to imagine that’s precisely why she sent him to Riverrun. Trouble in Incestuous Paradise!

Ultimately, I believe Cersei’s reign will be short-lived. Seeing as Maggy the Frog correctly predicted the deaths of her three children, it seems likely that Cersei will indeed be removed from power and overtaken by another woman. While she may have believed that to be the departed Margaery Tyrell, it seems pretty clear that Daenerys Targaryen will be the one to usurp the new Queen.

Although the Mother of Dragons didn’t make any resounding speeches amidst flames, and she didn’t effortlessly destroy an entire collection of slave masters this week, Daenerys did begin to embark upon the journey that’s been long in the making. Backed by the Iron Fleet, the Unsullied and Dothraki forces, the Varys-brokered alliance with Lady Olenna Tyrell and Ellaria Sand, and her three fire-breathing children, it’s hard to imagine Daenerys’ play for the Iron Throne falling flat.

Among many memorable moments this week, Daenerys fashioning Tyrion as her Hand of the Queen was my favorite. For the better part of the past six seasons, Tyrion has constantly been underestimated and underappreciated. Now, as the head counsel for the soon-to-be Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, it appears Tyrion will play a vital role in winning “The Great Game.” Also, I CAN’T WAIT for the Lannister reunion that will happen next season. Cersei v. Tyrion for King’s Landing will be amazing to watch.

Rusty, what did you make of this week’s episode? Like Marci and I, did you enjoy Cersei’s revenge? And will Daenerys make her reign a brief one?

Also, Jon Snow is King of the North! And R+L=J is real! And Arya is back!

So much happened!

 

Rusty: Um, yes, a TON happened. We still have a lot to cover, so I don’t want to dwell in King’s Landing. But, I did want to mention Cersei’s costume change. I’m dying for some red carpet coverage of Cersei’s coronation, if only to find out who made that new dress! Cersei knew what was about to go down, and was dressed to literally slay all of her opponents, and then metaphorically slaaaaaaaaaaay them with fierceness. Get your Maleficent on, girl! Now that the High Sparrow is out of the picture, Cersei has firmly secured her status as a Big Bad for next season. The prophecy has come true, and now that she doesn’t have any children to protect, I predict that we will see a Cersei UNHINGED next season.

Cersei wasn’t the only lady feeling herself this episode. How about Dany’s conversation with Daario this week??? Dany broke it off with her manpiece like a high school senior breaking up with her bf. “I just don’t want to be tied down when I go away, you know? Never change.” BALLER STATUS!   I also appreciated the name change in Meereen – Slaver’s Bay will now be known as the Bay of Dragons. Isn’t that a nice little ‘history lesson’-y detail to include? If I were a resident of Meereen, I’d be totally down for a new name for a Bay, especially if the word ‘dragon’ is involved! Dany’s time in Meereen had its ups and downs, but there were some spectacular set pieces along the way. The final tracking shot of her fleet and dragons was a great way to end the season, and a look forward to her landfall in Westeros.

You thought there were only two divas who came out on top this week? How could we not include Lyanna Mormont, aka Rookie of the Year? Lyanna turned the tides towards Jon’s favor in claiming the title King of the North. As her speech aired on HBO, Meryl Streep was out at her favorite restaurant catching a late dinner. The salad had just arrived, and Meryl felt a light breeze on the back of her neck. She chuckled quietly to herself – Streep’s old magic was safe, for now. But if Lyanna Mormont continues to deliver banger speeches like that, Meryl will have to look to the Old Gods for help. Winter is coming, Meryl… it comes for all of us.

How about the ladies who didn’t do so well this finale? Bye Margaery! I feel bad for the Queen, she knew what was up ten steps ahead of everyone else in the Sept of Baelor. Unfortunately, when you play the game the way Margaery (and Cersei) do, sometimes you are at the mercy of your decisions. I’m going to miss Margaery, but she was fairly outplayed. I’m also going to argue that Sansa’s positioned herself quite precariously at the end of this season. It’s never a good idea to be on Littlefinger’s radar, and Sansa has never managed to escape his clutches. The ominous looks Littlefinger throws Sansa during her last scene of the season suggests some crazy dynamics happening with them next season.

Finally, the biggest lady loser of them all: Meera! Can Bran somehow warg an Uber for them? After Benjen dropped them off in the middle of the forest, I can only assume Meera has to drag Bran’s sorry ass for miles tooo ……?   Where??? Does Meera even know where she is going? Plus, she has to basically chill whenever Bran hangs out with one of his tree friends for hours. Poor Meera!

Marci, Zac, do you have any winners and losers of the episode? How about that baby acting in the R+L = J flashback? How many faces does Arya keep around for any sundry killings she may have?

 

Marci: Woof, I agree that Sansa is in a tricky spot with Littlefinger. He just won’t seem to take no for an answer, and now that he was able to bring the Knights of the Vale into battle and save her forces, he wants something very simple in return – lifelong love and loyalty to his goal of sitting on the Iron Throne. Easy, right? This plotline is like the Game of Thrones equivalent of a guy buying a girl a few drinks at a bar and then expecting her to go home with him. Kudos to Sansa for saying “NO THANK YOU!” Fierce move, but…she better be on the lookout for any weird stuff from Littlefinger in the future. I’ll say this one’s a stalemate for now.

One winner for sure from this week is Arya. She not only killed Walder Frey in the same fashion that her mom Catelyn was murdered by the Freys, but first literally served him a can of whoop ass. And in this case, whoop ass means the remains of his sons she murdered literally minutes before. I’ll tell ya what, good thing she off’ed Walder Frey, because I’m guessing his Yelp review of her establishment would have been VERY LOW. Was Walder Frey one of the people on Arya’s kill list? Now that she’s begun her rageful killing spree, I’m eager to see where she pops up next!

Another winner? Mr. Jon Snow – THE KING OF THE NORTH! THE KING OF THE NORTH! THE KING OF THE – okay, you get the point…We’ve finally found out that his mother is Lyanna Stark, Ned’s sister! And his father is (whispers something inaudible into ear)… I guess we’ll have to wait the 10 months until next season to see if the full equation of R + L = J is true…we’ve got two pieces of the puzzle so far, though! I’m glad they didn’t give us the whole equation last night, because I’m fearful that Zac’s head would have actually exploded from pure joy.

Tyrion was also a clear winner this week, having a heartwarming scene with Dany, where he is pinned the Hand of the Queen. I can’t wait for their badass huge army, complete with ships and dragons, to arrive at King’s Landing. Sorry Cersei, but I don’t think you’ll be able to hide behind your Mountain anymore. It will be very interesting to watch Tyrion’s advisement to Dany regarding what to do with Cersei and Jaime, once they get captured.

Other winners of this week include any characters who survived the carnage, plus every single character in THE REALM, since the White Walkers didn’t stage any attacks during the finale.

But the biggest winner this week in my opinion? US!! THE VIEWERS! Game of Thrones brought THE HEAT these past two weeks and left us with so much plot to chew on until next season. Well played, GoT!

Now we can sit around for the next year or so coming up with ridiculous theories about what will happen in the series’ last season. Based on this finale, I don’t think it will disappoint!

What are your biggest questions about next season, guys? Mine include:

  • Where are Meera/Bran going and how the heck are they gonna get there?
  • What’s going to happen once Jon Snow’s heritage is revealed?
  • Will the Stark children ever meet up with each other again?
  • How will they defeat the White Walkers (if it’s even possible)?
  • Who will win (and who will survive) THE GAME OF THRONES?!?!?!

 

Rusty: Marci, you have covered all of my big questions! I feel like Jon’s heritage hinges on Bran and Meera telling him, so maybe they’ll eventually hook up by the end of next season? If I were living in Westeros, I’d fly south for the Winter, like how old ladies in NY fly down for Florida for the winter. Who wants to sit in the snow all day and worry about running out of food?

I thought of another big question: What could Sam possibly find out in all of those books that will help them defeat the White Walkers? So far, the only thing that kills them is Valyrian steel, and there are only a few of those blades in the world still around. Also, will Gilly rely on a day care center to take care of Sam Jr.? Or is Gilly more of a stay-at-home mom kind of Wilding?

What I am most excited about is that this show has now truly transformed into a show that is built around some of the safer, more structural confines of television. What I mean by that is the creators no longer are encumbered by travel time – characters are traveling across the world at lightening speed. I am OK with this because who’s to say that some of these stories aren’t all happening at the same time? The only travel I call bullshit on is Varys’ mission to Dorne to recruit the Tyrells and Sand Snakes. Dude managed to catch that boat QUICK… a little too quick if you ask me! Nevertheless, truncating travel time will alleviate lulls in a season – season 7 is rumored to be shortened, so we need to squeeze in as much plot as we can get!

Zac, any final thoughts on the season?

 

Zac: I’m overwhelmed by deciding where to start with my last response to our last Game of Thrones recap in 2016. However, following many minutes of consideration, I think it’s only fitting that I discuss the hopeful theory that I’ve been obsessing over during the entirety of Season 6. WHO ARE JON SNOW’S PARENTS!

Marci, while my head fortunately remains intact, I was pretty excited to see Bran flashback to discover Jon’s mother. Although we weren’t given confirmation that Rhaegar Targaryen was indeed Jon’s father, it seems pretty clear that’s where the show is headed. So while it’s dangerous to make any assumptions with Game of Thrones (particularly ones that provide awesome backstory for beloved characters), I feel safe in saying that R+L=J is indeed true. With that in mind, it makes Ned Stark all the more likable. Earlier this season we saw Ned’s heroism come into question when a story regarding his sword-fighting skills proved greatly fabricated. However, his willingness to take Jon as his own and create a fictional backstory to protect him is quite admirable. Especially considering that his own wife despised the idea that Jon was the product of Ned’s supposed indiscretions.

Moving forward, I have to think Bran (and poor Meera) will reach his brother to share the news. Though his responsibilities as the new Three Eyed Raven may require his services elsewhere, I’d like to think that Jon being composed of both ice AND fire is pretty pertinent to the outlook of civilization in Westeros.

Like you both, I am worried about Littlefinger’s involvement in the North. Though his 38th confession of his love for Sansa was by no means a startling revelation, Pete Baelish is well schooled in playing the Game of Thrones. Remember back when he was just a slimy brothel owner? It seems like so long ago.

Rusty I, like you, am happy that the showrunners are taking a few liberties with the timelines of certain characters. Varys certainly maneuvered his way around the Seven Kingdoms at an impressive clip, and Arya reaching The Twins to assassinate Walder Frey and his sons followed a similarly generous timeline. However, to see Varys orchestrate an all-badass-female alliance, and to see Arya exact revenge for the Red Wedding were incredible moments. I think that’s indicative of the entire season really. Now that the showrunners are free from following George R.R. Martin’s words, they can accelerate (or decelerate) storylines as they see fit. Although that could prove dangerous later on, this season was relentlessly fast-paced, and it truly was some of the best television I’ve ever watched.

I’m eager to see what Game of Thrones has in store for us in the last two seasons yet to come. With four factions (headed by Cersei, Daenerys, Jon, and the White Walkers) controlling the current landscape, I’m excited to see how things shake out in Westeros. I’ve been making the same prediction for a while now and I’ll happily share it again. I believe that this show ends with Jon and Daenerys uniting forces to fight the White Walkers. A true war of fire and ice.

Though part of me is relieved we won’t have to spend the next year following Kit Harrington’s every movement in and out of the public view (maybe that was just me), I surely will be counting down the days until we revisit our favorite characters once again. Likewise, I can’t wait until I can discuss all things Game of Thrones with you both again.

Until next time Marci and Rusty, WINTER IS HERE!!!

 

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