That's it, another season of Game of Thrones has come and gone, and we have to wait another agonizing year before we get to revisit Westeros.
At least the creators were kind enough to let us go with one amazing season finale! And to think this follows last week's epic "Battle of the Bastards." Normally any episode, even a good one, would look drab in comparison. But if we've learned one thing from the minds behind Game of Thrones, it's that anything is possible.
Things start off in King's Landing where Cersei and Ser Loras' trial are about to get underway. The dignitaries, practically the entire central government and religious leadership of the kingdom are in the Sept of Baelor. Except maybe for three, King Tommen and Queen Cersei are still in their chambers getting ready while Maester Pycelle is still in bed with a prostitute (for an old man it is quite impressive that he still has stamina for such activities).
He is approached by a child who whispers in his ear for the maester to follow him.
In the Sept, Loras is brought in the central atrium before the High Sparrow. He confesses his sins before the assembled Lords, Septons and Septas, while his father Lord Mace and Queen Margaery look on helplessly. He renounces his title, and pledges to dedicate his life to the Faith, never to marry or father children, which in effect puts an end to the Tyrell line, as far as we know.
His head is then held back as the Faith Militant carves a seven pointed star on his forehead. Lord Mace wants to go to his son, but Margaery cautions him saying that it is the way of the faith. Of course we all know the Queen may just be protecting her family.
Back in the Red Keep, Tommen is about to leave but his path is blocked by his mother's giant-zombie bodyguard, The Mountain. This seems to elude to the fact that something dangerous may go down in the Sept.
A theory that is not lost on Margaery, in fact. The absence of both the King and the Queen Mother raises alarms in her head. She confronts the High Sparrow first about mutilating her brother and reneging on his promise to free the Tyrell heir. But the not-so-holy man tells her that Loras will be freed after Cersei's trial. That's when Margaery tells him of her suspicion, ie: why the Queen Mother and King are not yet in the Sept.
And so the High Sparrow sends out Lancell to fetch Cersei. He goes out and sees a young boy, who runs away when he spots the fanatic. Sensing something amiss, Lancell follows him.
Meanwhile Maester Pycelle follows the child to a chamber where he finds Qyburn. The mad Maester apologizes first for what is about to happen. Soon enough, the children he has been taking care of emerge armed with knives. Qyburn watches with satisfaction as they stab Pycelle to death.
Underneath the city, Lancell has tracked the boy to a series of tunnels below the Sept. He finds the boy has dropped a torch, he bends down to pick it up, but it is a trick. The boy emerges from the shadows and stabs him. He lies down still alive but mortally wounded as the child flees. He looks on his surroundings and sees that the tunnel is stacked with heaps of barrels filled with wildfire. The very same liquid substance Tyrion had used so effectively in the Battle of Blackwater bay against Stannis and his army.
Above ground in the Sept, Margaery senses danger and attempts to take her brother out. She warns everyone within that they need to get out now! But the Faith Militant blocks everyone's path, and the High Sparrow just stands in the center.
Below-ground, Lancell spots wax candles on the ground. They are slowly ebbing away, and are standing on a small puddle of wildfire. Once the wax is spent and the lighted wicks touch the liquid substance, it will bring everything alight. Lancell tries his best to reach it, but is too little too late.
The Sept of Baelor explodes, Cersei watches from her window in the Red Keep as most of her enemies burn. She then sips at her wine goblet, savoring the sweet taste of her vengeance with her signature smirk.
But her plans are not over yet. In a secluded room, she somehow has gotten her hand on Septa Unella tied down in a table. The Queen gleefully pours wine at her one-time tormentor mocking her with "shame" over and over again. She taunts the fanatic by telling her her sins. She then gloats about destroying the Sept of Baelor and murdering her High Sparrow and all her fellow Septas and Septons.
Cersei then reminds the Septa of a promise she made "My face will be the last thing you see before you die." But the Septa is defiant, she says she is ready to meet her gods.
Cersei mocks her even further "You're not going today, you are not going to die for a while" she says with malice. She then calls out for Ser Gregor. Her zombie-giant bodyguard then walks in and removes his helmet giving us our first quick glimpse of his face. "Your gods have forsaken you," she tells the Septa, "This is your god now." She then leaves the fanatic to her fate, closing the chamber door behind her as Unella screams in terror and agony.
King Tommen is visibly distraught with what he has witnessed. He watched the Sept explode from his window, and had just received a more detailed report. Not knowing what to do, he flings himself out of his window to his death.
Cersei's vengeance is dampened by the death of her last remaining child. She orders Qyburn that the body should be burned and the ashes spread over where the Sept once stood.
In the Twins, the Freys are celebrating their victory with Ser Jaime in attendance. The Lannister is unimpressed with the whole thing, as a feast is set. He encounters a young serving girl who seems to have taken a liking to him as Bronn points out, but Jaime of course is disinterested, he only has eyes for Cersei.
In the Reach at Oldtown, Sam and Gilly finally arrive at the Citadel. The Maester in charge of entry is suspicious of Sam. Especially since they have not gotten word of Jon's election as Lord Commander and the death of his predecessor, Lord Mormont. Still they allow him use of the great library until the Arch-Maester can hear his case. Gilly and her baby are not allowed to enter, though, since the Citadel does not allow women and children within. Which makes one wonder where Sam intends to lodge them.
In Winterfell, Ser Davos finally confronts Melisandre in front of Jon Snow about what she did to Princess Shireen. The Red Priestess confesses to her crimes, and the Onion Knight demands her execution for the horrendous act. But Jon decides to be lenient, after all it was Melisandre who resurrected him. And he exiles her instead, Davos does not protest seeming to understand the situation, but he makes a threat that if he finds her anywhere near the North again, he will execute her himself.
Later, Jon watches from the parapets as Melisandre leaves. He is then joined by Sansa. Jon informs her that he will have the Lord's chamber prepared for her. Sansa is shocked and says that he should take it. "I'm not a Stark" he says, but Sansa refutes this: " You are to me."
Jon argues that the Knights of the Vale came because of her, and that was what won the battle, therefore she is Lady of Winterfell. He then asks his sister if she trusts Lord Baelish. Sansa answers "Only a fool would trust Littlefinger," then apologizes for not telling him about the Knights of the Vale.
Jon then approaches her and says, "We need to trust each other, we can't fight a war among ourselves, we have so many enemies now." He then kisses his sister tenderly on the forehead, probably thinking that this is the only family he has left.
He then moves to walk away but before he does, Sansa calls out to him saying that a white raven has arrived from the Citadel "Winter is here" she says.
Further south, in the land which is the most removed from Winter in Dorne, Lady Olenna, now clad in black after the death of her family, meets with Ellaria Sand and the Sand snakes.
Oberyn's lover offers the Tyrell matriarch an alliance for their survival. But Olenna says that with her family taken away from her, survival is not what she is after. Ellaria then corrects herself, and says she offers her heart's desire. "And what is my heart's desire?" Olenna asks. "Vegeance" Ellaria says while ringing a bell to summon someone. "Justice," she continuous as a familiar figure walks out. "Blood and Fire" the spymaster Varys finishes her sentence.
With Dorne and the Reach by her side, Daenerys now controls the South of Westeros and she hasn't even begun her invasion yet.
But first things first, Daenerys has a few loose ends to tie up in Mereen before she leaves. She tells her lover, Daario that she needs to leave him behind. To take charge of Mereen while the people choose their leader, she says. He wants to come with her, of course, because he loves her and he has no problem if Daenerys has to marry a nobleman for an alliance, he will remain by her side. But the Mother of Dragons won't have it, in the end she refuses the offer.
She then walks out to speak with Tyrion, who remarks that she gave up someone who truly loved her which may mark her as a good leader. The two speak for a while of politics, and he tells her that he a man who has never believed in anything, but now truly believes in her.
Daenerys smiles, then brings out a pin which looks exactly like the one use by the Hand of the King used in Westeros. " I had this made" she says. Then she places the pin on Tyrion's lapel. " Tyrion Lannister, I name you Hand of the Queen". Tyrion looks like he is about to burst into tears, he then kneels.
Back in the Twins, Lord Frey is tucking in to eat a meat pie. The girl who earlier smiled at Jaime, is serving him.
Lord Frey complains that he is alone in the large hall, and wonders out loud where his sons are. The serving girl tells him, "They are already here my lord." Lord Frey looks around, "Here" the girl pushes forward the meat pie. "They weren't easy to carve" the girl menacingly says, she then pulls off her face revealing that she is Arya. "My name is Arya Stark, I want you to know that..." she says. "The last thing you will ever see is a Stark smiling on you as you die." She then slices his throat, avenging her mother, brother and the Northerners who died in the Red Wedding. A moment many of us have been waiting for.
At Winterfell, her sister Sansa speaks with Lord Baelish in the castle's Godswood. The adept manipulator finally tells her what he really wants which is to sit in the Iron throne with Sansa by her side. Sansa though rejects him, and Baelish points out that he has declared for House Stark. Sansa rebukes him saying that he has proclaimed for other Houses before. Baelish then further challenges her saying who will the North follow, a true born child of Ned and Catelyn Stark or a motherless bastard. Sansa is impassive and just simply walks out.
Further North, beyond the Wall, Benjen takes his leave of Meera and Bran. He tells them both that he can no longer escort them since the Wall is woven with magic that prevents the undead from crossing. He then bids them farewell, and rides out.
Bran surveys his surroundings and spots a Heart tree. He goes to it and Meera cautions him if he is ready. "I'm the three eyed raven now" he says. He then touches the ancient tree and wargs into it, drifting back into a vision of the past.
He returns to the Tower of Joy, and a young Ned Stark is about to ascend the steps to his beloved sister Lyanna. He finds her in bed, weak and dying. Ned tries to console his sister, but she knows her end is near. She whispers to his ear " You have to protect him, promise me Ned." A nursemaid then hands over a baby boy to Ned. "Promise me" Lyanna kept on whispering.
Ned looks onto the baby, it is not said who the boy is as the camera zooms in on his face, but it is quite clear that it is Jon when it cuts to his face in the next scene. It is safe to infer that the father may very well be Daenerys' older brother, Rhaegar who kidnapped Lyanna. But why does Jon not have silver hair, which is a trademark of all Targaryens?
In Winterfell, Jon and Sansa are holding a meeting of the assembled Lords of the North and the Vale. They are not too happy with the alliance with the wildlings. One of the Lords says winter has come and they should go to their homes and "wait out the storm." Jon tells him that the war is not over, and that "the true enemy won't wait out the storm, he brings the storm." Lady Lyanna Mormont. though, stands up and speaks out, berating the lords. She tells them that when it mattered most, House Mormont stood up for House Stark, she points out that, despite the atrocities committed by the Boltons towards their families during the Red Wedding and during their dominion of the North, they did not rise up.
Translation: a ten-year-old girl is braver than all of you.
"But House Mormont remembers, The North remembers!" she proclaims. "We know no King, but the King in the North whose name is Stark," she continues. "I don't care if he is a bastard," she says and Sansa smiles with approval. "Ned Stark's blood runs through his veins, and he is my King."
With those words, the other lords follow suit and acclaim Jon as King in the North. Sansa is elated but she meets Lord Baelish's eyes, who seems to be hatching some kind of nefarious plan.
In King's landing, Jaime arrives to find the Sept of Baelor in ruins. He goes to the Red Keep and is just in time to witness his twin sister, Cersei, being crowned as Queen. She is not the first woman to sit on the Iron Throne though, that would be Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen who ruled King's Landing briefly during the civil war known as The Dance of Dragons. And it appears that her rule may be just as brief.
Because in the sea, Rhaenyra's distant relation Daenerys is now sailing with her army and dragons towards Westeros. Greyworm rides in one ship, and Theon and Yara in another. While the Dragon Queen is in the bow of the lead vessel, with her Hand of the Queen, Tyrion, her handmaiden Missandei and then surprisingly the spymaster Varys who has magically teleported from Dorne to the fleet!
With that, this chapter ends. Westeros is now divided into three, the Reach and Dorne belongs to Daenerys. The Westlands , the Crownlands and perhaps the Riverlands belong with Cersei and the Lannisters. While Jon and the Starks have the North, and to an extent the Vale. Daenerys has her dragons, Cersei has her wildfire and giant zombie bodyguard, while Jon has his greenseer brother, face changing assassin sister, and maybe white-walker hybrid uncle?
Next season will be an exciting war! Everyone is going to have to put aside their differences because Winter is FINALLY here and the Night King is coming.
And just like that, we have ten agonizing months to wait until our favorite story continues. What are we supposed to do with ourselves until then!?