Winter is FINALLY HERE. With is comes reunions, armies banding together, tragic losses, dynamite explosions, catastrophic loss and formal alliances in its’ wake. This episode covered so much ground and laid the framework for some pretty bat shit crazy things to come. And….this episode belonged TO THE WOMEN OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS. MATRIARCHY IS TAKING OVER. Some for better, some for worse.
In the South, Cersei Lannister used her trump card: she blew up the Sept of Baelor with wildfire. She made sure to safeguard her son, so that Tommen was locked in his chambers by Ser Gregor Clegane. After bringing death and mayhem to many citizens, what’s most notable is the wiping out of almost all of House Tyrell and the Faith Militant. Pycelle is murdered by those little birds. Qyburn is now the de facto Grand Maester. The Faith Militant is no more. Poor Septa Unella finds herself at the horrifying mercy of Gregor Clegane. Cersei – you sicken me. As a woman, you are a pathetic piece of garbage who has continually abused your power for six seasons. And now, you wear a crown. You JUST KNOW that Grandma Olenna isn’t taking this lying down…
Tommen, however, does one thing on his own accord after watching the destruction caused by his mother: he kills himself. So many fans criticized Tommen for being a puppet king. How would you be if you were, say 16 or 17 years old, forced to become King, marry for the sake of formal alliances, were eager to please your new wife and try to exert your authority while trying to rule? It’s too much to see his wife, father in law, brother in law, many innocent people and his uncle Kevan dead because of his mother and now Maggy the Frog’s prophecy has come full circle.
Samwell Tarly, Gilly and baby Sam end up in the Citadel. It’s a nice moment during the episode; one where fans are rooting for Sam, as he ends up in the massive library of the Citadel. A whole world of knowledge at his fingertips. You GO, Sam Tarly! We need to have an intelligent and humble man become Maester. And *hopefully* return safely to Castle Black….
In the Riverlands, Bronn, Jaime and Walder appear to be celebrating. Yes, another alliance has been solidified, and yet Jaime can’t help but insult Walder Frey and walk off. This alliance was very shaky, especially with Tywin not being around, and Jaime is trying so hard to be a different man than his father. Fans, I’m sure, were cheering the fact that a comely young serving woman was making eyes at Jaime. YES!!! We all want this to happen: we want Jaime to actually have a relationship with someone WHO HE ISN’T RELATED TO!!! Still, that young serving woman gave me a strange vibe (more about that later).
Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys and company are readying the ships, the troops, the Dothraki horde and the trusted advisors to prepare the voyage to Westeros. Tyrion and Dany come to an understanding on what sacrifices a ruler should make. Dany proclaims Tyrion Hand of the Queen. Daario is left behind and Dany understands that it’s not politic to bring her lover whilst courting favour with potential suitors for marriage alliances while in Westeros. Thus, Dany begins to understand that a great ruler must make many personal sacrifices.
At Winterfell, while Melisandre and Jon look at the great hall and discuss their respective pasts and things to be grateful for, a very angry Ser Davos interrupts the conversation. Melisandre is put on the spot and with good reason – the little charred stag that Ser Davos carved for Princess Shireen was found in the rubble. Anger doesn’t even begin to describe what Davos is feeling; with is comes the truth of the events when Stannis chose to attack Ramsay at Winterfell. Jon stares in disbelief before telling Melisandre to get out and take off for the south. Ser Davos gets the last parting shot in – should the Red Priestess ever return, he will personally execute her, with relish.
We see Littlefinger get rebuffed by Sansa. Sansa, after all, is not the naïve and innocent little girl of the past. Instead, being engaged once and married twice has taught her to be extremely wary of any man that comes in her life. She does not trust Littlefinger and knows he lusts badly for two things: the Iron Throne and of course, herself. After all, Sansa is a beautiful woman, with an ancient name and now has many Houses sworn to her. Littlefinger, for his part, grudgingly accepts that Sansa does not want him. He does manage to sneak a seed of disquiet into her conscience: she’s the Lady of Winterfell. So, why should a ‘bastard from the south’ be the one in charge of Winterfell. What a slime ball.
Speaking of scumbags and slime balls, Walder Frey and his creepy hands make contact on the attractive serving woman’s bottom. He cusses and makes scathing remarks about his absentee sons. Well, well, well. Keep eating, Walder, because you’ve just had a taste of your own sons. As for the pie you ate, well, take a closer look. Yup, Arya Stark serves up revenge. And it’s a dish best served cold. The calculated look on Arya’s face as she strikes another name of her list is chilling. This young wolf has a few tricks up her sleeve. How fitting that she delivers a swift and deep cut to Walder’s throat. YES!
In the north, winter has truly arrived. Benjen and Brandon Stark arrive at an ancient weir wood tree with Meera Reed. Benjen, being half dead and half alive cannot go past the Wall, as part of its’ lore is that magical spells prevent any dead beings from passing through. It’s a sad moment because we don’t see too many happy family reunions. Unfortunately, Benjen has to leave but hopefully he will be of some assistance to anyone who knows that the White Walkers are approaching. Once Benjen departs, Brandon touches a weir wood tree and we get our much desired Tower of Joy flashback. Remember: we know that Lyanna was placed there at the behest of Rhaegar Targaryen. You KNOW that it had to be a damned important reason why someone is stationed in a tower that’s isolated in location, yet protected by some of the best swordsman. Lyanna is in a bed of blood. Ned stares in disbelief, upset and shattered at his sister’s condition. He tries to be brave but knows that nothing will save Lyanna. Once Ned is seated by her side, she leans in to whisper….and the words are barely audible but what we do hear is, “You know if Robert finds out, he’ll kill him….promise me, Ned. Promise me.” Ned stares down at the tiny bundle in his arms, a tear slipping from his cheek. The baby opens his eyes and we see that they are dark and brooding. Ned kept this baby safe for many years and at the cost of his marriage and reputation. This baby gazes up at his uncle with a dark and intense look. We’ve seen those dark, expressive eyes somewhere else…
And then we see the adult version of Jon Snow looking straight at the camera. Back at Winterfell, in the great hall, all the Northern houses have come to gather and make plans. The snows bring a looming threat and while Jon and Sansa are now in charge of Winterfell and its ancient seat, it is the ongoing threat of war with the Night’s King and the White Walkers that is truly terrifying. As the Northern bannermen all sit and listen to Jon’s words of wisdom, it is Lady Lyanna Mormont who really steals the thunder. This little girl stands up and proclaims Jon her King in the North. Bastardy aside, she doesn’t care because what’s most important to her is that Stark blood runs through his veins. The North Remembers and Lyanna Mormont’s rousing speech not only shows her respect for Jon Snow, but her loyalty and pride in belonging to the North, under united Houses and under a Northern King who understands the way of life and what the true threat is: The White Walkers.
Surprise alliance in the making: we find the camera panning out to a beautiful, watery garden. Olenna is speaking with Ellaria (after putting the three young snakes in their respective places). Olenna is pissed. BIG TIME. Ellaria sees this as an opportunity between Dorne and House Tyrell to form an alliance with another powerful woman who will be arriving in Westeros soon, Daenerys Targaryen. Olenna wants revenge. Justice. Restitution. Out of the shadows, Varys comes and says the ancient words of House Targaryen, “Fire and Blood.” Damn, this is getting better and BETTER!!!!
But it’s Cersei’s fade to black moment that has everyone shuddering. We saw the very satisfying and gruesome death of Ramsay Bolton last week. Now, we have an insane sociopath on the throne who believes that she is untouchable, that she is the rightful ruler. That throne has done nothing but bring sorrow and misery to those who have sat on it. Why is this going to be any different? Cersei was crazy before, but NOW that a crown has been placed upon her head, she’s going to bring a whole lotta psycho to the throne now. Even Jaime, once in the gallery of the throne room, looks at his sister with fear and loathing.
Let’s hope as the ending images of the Iron born ships, the Dothraki on the fleet, Missandei, Tyrion and Daenerys plus the three dragons will be enough to drive Cersei Lannister out of Westeros and out of the Seven Kingdoms for good. The Game is ON. THE MEN are the brawn. But this season, the WOMEN are the brains.