Game of Thrones: The Winds of Winter Review

Hello geeks, Winds of Winter just aired and we will be going without Game of Thrones for another year. Before I go on I just want to remind everyone that there will be Spoilers  and to not go on reading if you are not caught up. Since I’ve started watching Game of Thrones there are just two episodes where I’ve been left literally speechless. One time was watching the Red Wedding take place and watching the first 30 minutes of Winds of Winter.  I knew the outcome of the Red Wedding before it aired because I read the book, but this.I don’t think anything could have prepared me for what happened.

Everything about the beginning of the episode was a cinematic masterpiece. The way it was filmed, everyone slowly getting dressed to the haunting music that played while they were doing it. It won’t be something I soon forget. I re-watched that episode three times before I felt that I could sit down and write a proper review and I beseech you to do the same. If you haven’t re-watched that episode stop reading this and watch it again. Put down the cell phone, put the children to sleep and really focus on the episode. There are so many things I missed the first time that I’m truly glad I watched it a second, the third time was for note taking purposes. Sorry for the rambling and without further ado I will get on with the review.

The Sept of Baelor still intact

The episode starts off with Tommen, Cersei, The High Sparrow, Margaery and Loras getting ready for the trial in the Sept of Baelor. The beginning is mostly silent as a beautiful piano melody plays as people start filing into the Sept waiting for the trial to begin. Everyone is attendance: Margaery, Lord Tyrell, Kevan Lannister, The High Sparrow and his septons, and most of the noble woman and men from various courts are present to see the proceedings. The only ones not present are Cersei who is dressed like she is going to be attending a funeral. She sips her wine and looks out at the Sept from her room in the Red Keep. Tommen is sitting in his room unable to get himself to leave because he knows that he has sentenced his own mother to her death. Maester Pycelle gets up and readies himself for the day telling the whore he’s been entertaining all night that he’ll “Pay her later.” As he leaves, heading to the Sept he is intercepted by a young girl who has him follow her to where Qyburn is waiting.

The trial for Loras Tyrell begins and he confesses his sins to the High Sparrow and everyone in the Sept. In order to atone for his crimes he says he will devout his life to the Seven, saying that he will give up his Tyrell name and his claims to Highgarden. The High Sparrow grants him his wish and Loras is branded as a Faith Miliant. Margaery furious with the High Sparrow for mutilating her brother asks for where the Queen Mother is, The High Sparrow tells Lancel to bring her to the Sept immediately for her trial. Lancel leaves with other members of the Faith Militant and as they leave they catch one of Qyburn’s “little birds” running away from the Sept,curious , Lancel follows the child into the catacombs of the Sept and looses him. Looking around Lancel can’t understand what’s going on, but time is against him. He is stabbed in the back by the child and left there. Tommen gets up finally able to come to terms with what is going to happen and is about to leave when he is stopped by Sir Gregor Clegane The Zountian. Pycelle taken to Qyburn’s room and is cornered there and is killed by the little birds. Watching small children with their sad faces take out knives and stab Pycelle over again and over again was harrowing and chilling.

Lancel looks around trying to figure out why the child would come down here he takes a closer look at the casks around him. There hundreds of them and on closer inspection there’s green fluorescent liquid oozing out of them. Further away he can see lights in the distance and decides to crawl to them, pulling his legs with him, passing the green casks as he goes. I’m guessing the child had pretty good aim and stabbed Lancel right in the spine, if he is unable to walk or at least limp.

Margaery is getting anxious as they are sitting around waiting and confronts the High Sparrow. She tells him something is wrong, there’s a reason that Cersei and Tommen are not present at the trial. Something bad is going to happen and they need to leave immediately. She grabs her brother and goes to leave but is stopped by the Faith Miliant, she yet again tells them that they have to leave. Upon getting closer to the light, Lancel realizes it’s small tea lights resting on puddles of Wildfire.

The substance that we saw back in season two that set Blackwater ablaze and destroyed Stannis’ fleet. Lancel gasps and desperately tries to crawl faster, he knows what will happen. There is chaos in the Sept as all the Lords and ladies try to get out but are unable to do so because of the Faith blockading the doors. Margaery and Loras look at the High Sparrow who is too prideful to admit defeat and thus will not let them out. Lancel finally makes it to the dying candles but it’s too late the flame reaches the Wildfire and everything goes up in flames. The Sept is blown to pieces killing everyone inside of it and around it. Thus ending the lives of Margaery, Loras, Mace Tyrell, Kevan Lannister, and the High Sparrow. Cersei watches from her window smirking. She finally got her revenge, she burned them all. Cersei was not the only one who had front row seats, Tommen also watched as the people he loved were murdered by his own Mother.

The only person Cersei kept alive is Septa Unella who was the one who tortured her when she was kept in the dungeons of the Sept. The Septa is strapped to a table in the dungeons and there Cersei mocks her by pouring wine on her and says “Shame.” Cersei confesses everything to the Septa, the killing of King Robert, sleeping with her brother and lying about it to keep her and Jaime’s son safe, killing the High Sparrow and everyone in the Sept. She talks about how it felt good to watch them all burn. Cersei continues and tells the Septa that she will remain here being tortured by Sir Gregor until Cersei feels like she’s done with her. Cersei leaves as The Zountain takes her place removing his helmet. The septa’s screams fill the room and Cersei closes the door saying the words that the Septa used on her: “Shame.”

Tommen continues to watch his city burn from his window. His serving boy apologizes to him and leaves. I’m guessing he told him that everyone is dead and you can still hear the screams of the people floating up through the window. Tommen takes off his crown and calmly goes to the open window and jumps out. On the Eve of Cersei’s greatest victory her last remaining son is dead. Cersei gazes down at the corpse that once was Tommen and tells Qyburn to burn his body and bury his ashes where the Sept once stood. I think in this moment Cersei has completely turned cold. Her last saving grace is dead and she has nothing left. I’m curious as to why she didn’t want to have funeral for Tommen.

 

At the Twins, Walder Frey is celebrating their victory at Riverrun. Bronn and Jaime have fun banter about how much the girls like him and how much Bronn hates it. Jaime takes notice for the first time to one of the girls but doesn’t budge and Walder Frey sits next to him. Going on about how happy they are for getting Riverrun back. From there back and forth you can see when Walder Frey strikes a nerve with Jaime bringing up that fact that he’s a Kingslayer. Jaime hates that everyone thinks him dishonorable for killing King Aerys, but he had too, he did a justice by killing the king. He was going to take King’s Landing down and ‘Burn them all.’ In his mind Jaime was right for killing the King, he killed one to save thousands. Jaime angrily gets up and leaves after telling Walder Frey that the Lannister’s don’t need the Freys.

Gilly, Baby Sam and Sam finally make it to Old Castle, where Sam goes to the Citadel, one of the Maester’s and tells him that they have to work out the irregularities with life. The Maester in charge allows Sam to use the library. Inside Sam looks like a small child on Christmas the library is completely enormous and you can tell that by the look of his face that this is Sam’s true calling.

At Winterfell, finally home to the Starks once again. I was so happy to see in the usual intro of the show that they replaced the flayed man of the Bolton’s with the Direwolf of the Starks. As Jon reminisces about old times in the hall of his fore fathers, Davos confronts Melisandre about the burning of Princess Shireen. It was heartbreaking watching Davos struggling with the weight of how the princess was murdered. Jon banishes Melisandre south and if she ever returns she will be killed.  Sansa and Jon share a tender moment on the castle walls talking about they need to trust each other because they have so many enemies. Jon even asks her if she trusts Littlefinger to which she replies: “Only a fool would trust Littlefinger.” I think our girl Sansa is finally growing up. They also speak of a white raven coming from the citadel. Winter is here. 

In Dorne, The Queen of Thorns is looking for vengeance and she found it. The Sand Snakes are eager for the new alliance and they are all eager to bring Cersei down with the help of a friendly face: Varys. And with him he brings Fire and Blood.

Speaking of Fire and Blood, In Meereen, Daenerys is trying to let Daario down gently. She can’t take her lover with her to Westeros specially if she needs a political marriage. Daario takes it as well as can be expected, his duty is to stay in Meereen with the Second Sons and make sure peace remains. In order to cheer herself up Daenerys goes to Tyrion for comfort but consoling someone isn’t Tyrion’s strong suit.The scene that follows I absolutely love. I loved that Tyrion says that Daenerys is the first thing he’s ever believed in and that he believes in her so much that it’s embarrassing. Daenerys smiling tells him that she had something made for him, and she pins the “Hand of the King” on his tunic and names him Hand of the Queen. Misty eyed, Tyrion kneels before her.

However, it’s not all fun in games in Westeros and finally the revenge we were hoping that would happen to Walder Frey happens. Whilst enjoying a mid-day pie Walder Frey asks the serving girl where his sons are. She replies “They’re right here Mi-lord” and motions to the the very pie he’s been eating. He flips back the crust on one portion of the pie and it reveals a toe of one of his sons. “They weren’t easy to carve..” The serving  girl says as she pulls off her face revealing herself to be Arya Stark. “I’m Arya Stark I wanted you to know that the last thing you’ll ever see is a Stark smiling down at you while you die.” Arya then cuts his throat much like her own mother’s throat was cut during the Red Wedding. I’m so friggin happy that Walder Frey was killed and that Arya was the one to do it, however I felt that that scene just didn’t fit in with this episode. It made me loose my focus and wonder just exactly how Arya got there in the first place and so quickly. The one thing that they don’t really explain well in the show is how certain time lines are working. It’s just confusing. I felt like they could have kept this particular scene until next season maybe even open with it. Or perhaps I’m just nit-picking. All that matters really is that Walder Frey is dead and another named is crossed off of Arya’s list.

Back in Winterfell, Sansa and Baelish have a meeting one that doesn’t necessarily go well for him. He even makes the fatal error of telling Sansa his true plans of wanting to rule on the Iron Throne with her beside him. However just like what Sansa stated before “Only a fool would trust Littlefinger.” and Sansa is through with trusting. She denies his feelings for her and leaves him standing in the Godswood alone after he makes a crude comment about Jon’s lineage.

North of the Wall, Uncle Benjen leaves Bran and Meera, telling them that there are ancient spells and magic on the Wall that prohibits the dead from passing and because Benjen is dead he has to remain North. Bran and Meera are left at a Weirwood and say there farewells to him. Bran noticing the crying Weirwood touches it taking him back to the Tower of Joy. Bran follows a young Ned Stark up the stairs and into the room of Lyanna who is covered in blood laying on a bed. He lies down the Sword of the Morning at the end of the bed and goes to her. It’s heartbreaking watching their reunion as Lyanna says that she doesn’t want to die and Ned promises her she won’t as she lies in her own blood. She whispers a name into his ear and tells him that if Robert finds out that he’ll kill him. She asks that he protect him and then repeatedly asks him to “Promise me, Ned, promise.” And Thus we know the true linage of Jon Snow. Mother Lyanna Stark, Father Rhaegar Targaryen. We all knew it and finally it is set in stone. This also means that Jon is Daenerys’ nephew.

Back in Winterfell Jon Stargaryen is trying to rally  the Northern houses, The Houses of the Vale and the Wildlings against the White-Walkers and the Night King and things aren’t going well. It isn’t until Lyanna Mormont a ten year old, calls them all out for their cowardice that things start looking up for Jon. I can’t express how much I love that little girl and it’s so fitting that this girl with the name of Jon’s mother is standing up for him. It’s not long after Lyanna’s rousing speech that the other Lords take the knee and pledge their houses and lives to Jon calling him the King of The North. I love Jon’s bashfulness at all the men calling him a king. The camera pans to show Littlefinger’s unhappy face at the men calling Jon the King of the North and Sansa catches it her smile fading, she knows that if Jon stands in the way of Littlefinger getting on the Iron Throne that Littlefinger will dispose of him. She will have to be careful.

All Hail The Mad Queen

Jaime finally makes it back to King’s Landing and his face says it all. He looks down at the mostly ruined still burning city and a look of fear passes over him as he spurs his horse on. Cersei makes her way through the throne room to the Iron Throne and is crowned Queen much to the displeasure of everyone in the room. Jaime arrives just in time to see this happen and the look on his face is one of disbelief. I can only imagine what he’s thinking. The Sept is obliterated and is still burning and Tommen is not the King and Tyrells are all missing and the only person remaining is being crowned Queen. Cersei used the same Wildfire that Jaime killed the Mad King over and now she’s become him. If this hasn’t stopped Jaime from loving her I don’t know what will. His face just says What have you done? Cersei has lost her saving grace and all she has now is endless power.

The ending of this episode doesn’t disappoint either. Daenerys with her fleet of warships sails for Westeros. If you look closely you can see sails from Dorne and Highgarden have joined her and a familiar face is back with our group: Varys. Watch out Cersei because Daenerys is coming for your crown.

I can’t express how much I truly loved this episode from start to finish it was everything I’ve ever wanted. I’m sad that there will be only two more seasons but I know they’re going to be just as amazing as this season was. Stay tuned for more things Game of Thrones.

Final Score 11/10

+Jon’s Lineage

+Mad Queen Cersei

+Arya’s Ruthlessness

+Daenery’s fleet

+Hand of the Queen

Sam Sarvis is our lead writer for our Game of Thrones Review.

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