“The last thing you’re ever going to see is a Stark smiling down at you as you die.”
Ah, the satisfaction of it all. The pure, unadulterated satisfaction watching the women in Martin’s universe finally doing what they were destined to do. This was easily one of the best Game of Thrones episodes ever. Period. Right from that opening fifteen sequence with that beautiful score to the image of Dany finally heading to Westeros, this was a season finale done right, even if the season preceding it didn’t always leave one as satisfied as one would have liked.
So, please bear with me if my words overwhelm me. As we have another ten months to go for the next episode, forgive me if I rant about. Without further ado,
1. Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen: I don’t think I was alone in being critical of much of what Dany did after ‘The Book of the Stranger,’ especially that empty show of theatre in the desert. There’s no such display this week. And yet, the final image of Dany, Tyrion, her army and her dragons sailing towards Westeros is as stirring an image as any.
After all that has happened, Dany had no shocking or game-changing act to her credit this week. And yet, she is the one who gains the most and ends the season on a high. The Unsullied, her Dothraki brethren, the Greyjoy siblings and now, the full might of the Tyrells and Dorne. I’d be very worried if I were the King Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
2. Michael Corleone: Remember the Baptism murders from The Godfather (One of the best scenes in filmdom, IMO). Cersei Lannister (Dressed in a suit I assume she borrowed from her uncle Kevan) just channeled one of the greatest characters in filmverse, and blew the Faith and its sparrows to the seventh hell, Angry Birds style. As the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms now, I’d say Westeros is right to fear her.
Also, I said this last year, and I say this again, give Lena Headey an Emmy already.
3. The Starks of Winterfell: It was a good week for the Stark family (Yeah, I don’t say that often). Not only do they hold Winterfell, they do so with the North beside them as they declare Jon to be the King in the North (Obvio, considering he was Robb’s heir). It’s a rousing scene, as good as the one in the Season 1 finale. Pretty sure Littlefinger and Sansa (Not Sansa, please) have something to say about it though.
The cake however, goes to Arya who pulled off a truly satisfying scene by slitting the throat of Walder Frey and baking his sons. This played so much better than her unnecessarily graphic mutilation of Trant last season.
4. The God of Death: George R.R Martin’s favorite deity was busy this week (As he was last week) with well over a hundred deaths, most of them within the Holy Sept of Baelor. We now know which God the High Sparrow cared least about.
5. R + L = J: Confirmation, at last. Need I say more? I still find myself laughing at renaissance fair Neil Patrick Harris though.
6. Dorne: It has taken me two whole seasons to finally care about this godforsaken place. That’s progress. And, the fact that Olenna is involved will be mighty pleasing to watch.
Interestingly, in the books, Tyrells are supposed to be sworn enemies of the Dornish. So, that is indeed a surprising alliance.
7. Winter: It’s finally here.
1. Cersei Lannister: Yes, she is Queen and yes, she did score a huge victory this week. But, with Dany coming to Westeros, the Dornish-Tyrell alliance to the South, Jon to the North and Arya gunning to strike off another name of her list, she really should look over her shoulder. And, she has no allies to speak of. Not even her brother, Jaime now.
“….the Valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”
And, she lost Tommen. Yes, he was lost the moment he turned on her. But, she loved him. Her children were the only humane aspects of her. Tommen was poor king but, a child nonetheless, whose death was no less tragic.
2. Margery Tyrell: I really adored the doe-eyed hoe from Highgarden (Cersei’s words, not mine). She was the perfect foil to the drunk queen and was seemingly in control of the larger scheme she had playing on her mind. Alas, it was not to be. Sad. She deserved a better death.
3. The Faith: Never cross the path of a woman scorned. Especially, Queen Cersei Lannister, First of her name.
4. Romance: Jorah’s illness took him away from Dany. Daario’s birth and lack of nobility made Dany push him away. So much for love and romance for the Mother of dragons.
5. Realistic travel: Varys is in Dorne aligning with Ellaria one scene and in the next, there he is, standing at the bow of Dany’s ships sailing from Meereen. Surely, Varys has a TARDIS somewhere.
1. Tyrion becoming Hand to the Queen Daenerys is bound to be an overlooked scene when put against the rest of the episode. The expression of Dinklage’s face though, priceless and worth it.
2. So is Ser Davos’ as he finally confronts Melisandre. Shireen still hurts, Ser.
3. This episode deserves an Emmy. Right from the direction by Miguel Sapochnik to its haunting background score and its brilliant editing.
4. Theon, Varys and Greyworm can finally co-find their Support group for Castrated bachelors.
5. The detour to the Citadel à la Hogwarts was unnecessary.
6. Great to see odes to the books, whether it is Pycelle’s death by the little birds, or the Frey pies.
6. Lyanna Mormont for President. Seriously.
Best episode this year: A tie, between ‘The Door’ and ‘The Winds of Winter.’
Best Scene: 1) Jon Snow getting almost crushed by his own men during the visceral battle scene in ‘The Battle of the Bastrads’ 2) Arya slitting the throat of Walder Frey
Death of the Season: Hodor, for the sheer pain that stabs me every time someone tells me to hold the door.
That concludes my review of all the episodes in this year’s Game of Thrones. Some complaints, a lot of satisfying moments and payoffs and a whole lot to look forward to next year. The finale especially, was brilliant, from start to finish. Here’s looking forward to another crescendo next year.
Until next year, Hodor.
Image Sources: Google Images