The Game of Thrones season 6 finale opens with a beautifully-constructed sequence showing everyone getting ready for Loras and Cersei’s trial. Cersei looks like she is dressing for battle. Tommen adorns himself with the crown jewels. Margaery has her hair done simply. High Sparrow puts on a plain dressing gown. Loras, scared and shivering, is dragged from his cell and into the Sept as is. As people file into the Sept, Pycelle stiffs a prostitute (not literally) and is interrupted by a little boy who whispers into his ear.
Margaery stands with her father in the gallery. Tommen is still in his room, looking sad. The High Sparrow starts the trial, and Loras freely admits to his crimes: sleeping with other men and perjuring himself before the gods. He humbles himself, and accepts whatever punishment the High Sparrow sees fit. But he wants to devote his life to the gods and offers to abandon the Tyrell name and all that goes with it. He will never marry, never procreate, and fight to defend his state against heretics. The High Sparrow accepts this, and several of the Sparrows hold Loras down while Lancel carves the symbol into his forehead. Margaery has to hold her father back.
With the branding done, the High Sparrow realizes that Cersei is not yet at the Sept, so he sends Lancel to fetch her from the Red Keep. Cersei is still in her room, unconcerned and enjoying a glass of wine. Tommen, finally ready to head to the trial, finds his way blocked by the Mountain. As Lancel leaves the Sept, he sees a young boy scurry along an otherwise empty street. For whatever reason, Lancel follows the child instead of going to get Cersei.
Pycelle has followed the child into Qyburn’s laboratory, where he finds Qyburn, and a young child with a knife. “Before we can usher in the new, the old must be put to rest,” Qyburn says. A half-dozen children, the Little Birds, all with knives in their hands, advance on Pycelle and brutally, bloodily stab Pycelle to death.
Lancel has followed his own Little Bird into a deep, dark cellar. The child has disappeared, and left only his torch flickering on the floor. The child jumps out of the darkness and stabs Lancel in the spine, paralyzing him. He sees a light in the distance and crawls towards it with great difficulty.
Back at the Sept, Margaery is concerned. Cersei isn’t there, Tommen isn’t there. She tells the High Sparrow that the trial can wait; “We all need to leave.” She is dismissed, so she goes to Loras and tries to escape, along with the others in the gallery. The Faith Militant prevent anyone from leaving.
In the cellar, Lancel has finally arrived at the glow. There are three candles, melted down almost to the stump, floating in a glowing puddle of neon green wildfire. The candle burns down, and in a second, the wildfire is set alight. A neon green explosion rumbles through the cellar and evaporates the Sept and everyone inside. Cersei watches the explosion with a calm smile. Tommen, still in his room, watches from the window, dumbstruck. The Mountain is no longer necessary; he slips away quietly. A messenger delivers the news to Tommen with a simple, “I’m very sorry.” Tommen, still glued to his window, removes his crown and walks off-screen. The Sept smokes in the distance. When Tommen steps back into frame, he steps into the window and calmly drops to his death.
Cersei has decided to celebrate with a little torture. She has Unella tied to a table, pouring wine on her and demanding she confess. Cersei wants her to admit it felt good torturing Cersei. Unella is ready to meet her gods, but Cersei mocks her. She’s not going to die today; not for awhile. The Mountain comes in, and he removes his helmet. In the dim lighting, we can just barely make out the scars on his face. “Your gods have forsaken you. This is your god now.” Cersei calls “shame” as she seals them into the room. Later, she insists that Qyburn show her Tommen’s corpse and insists that he be cremated, his ashes buried where the Sept once stood.
The Frey and Lannister armies are feasting together over their victory at Riverrun. Jaime plays wingman for Bronn and he goes off with a couple of bar wenches. Walder joins Jaime and tells him his father would be proud. Jaime mocks him, but Walder doesn’t care. “We are two kingslayers,” he says. Jaime points out that no one fears the Freys; they fear the Lannisters, who basically have to come in and clean up after them. “Why do we need you?” Jaime asks pointedly. Whatever alliance Walder was hoping for or expecting is not going to happen.
Later, Walder is dining alone, and asks his serving wench where his sons are. “They are already here my lord,” she says. Walder is confused – they are alone. He enquires again, and again she repeats that they are here. But this time she gestures to the meat pie he has just started to eat. He looks at the pie in horror, and the wench tells her that they weren’t easy to carve up. Suddenly the wench pulls off her face. It was a mask, and underneath is Arya. “My name is Arya Stark. I want you to know the last thing you will see is a Stark smiling down on you as you die.” She slits his throat and smiles as he chokes to death. I love that girl so damn much.
Sam, Gilly, and the baby make it to the Citadel. Sam is full of nervous excitement when he hands his letter of introduction from Jon Snow over to the functionary. The functionary is strictly by-the-book, and is not happy that he did not receive notice that the other maester is dead, but agrees he can meet with the archmaester. Until then, Sam will have access to the library, but that is all. Gilly and the baby cannot come. Sam moves through the stacks, and eventually comes to the center of the library. It is enormous, well lit, filled with artwork, and more books than could be read in a hundred lifetimes. Sam is in heaven.
Jon is reminiscing in the dining hall of Winterfell with Melisandre when Davos comes in and throws Shireen’s toy at her. Davos demands she admit to what she did. “We burned her at the stake,” Melisandre says, ashamed yet not apologetic. She insists it was the only way; that she was just doing as her lord commanded. Davos doesn’t accept this, and Melisandre defends herself by pointing out that Shireen’s mother and father both burned her, too. She also insists she didn’t lie; she was just wrong. “How many died because you were wrong?” Davos challenges. He asks Jon to execute Melisandre for murder. She insists that she can help with the “great war,” the “army of the dead,” and that the lord is not done with her yet. Jon makes his decision: she rides south today and she lives. If she returns north, he will have her hanged. Davos threatens to kill her as she leaves.
Jon watches Melisandre ride away from Winterfell when Sansa joins him. He is having Ned and Catelyn’s room prepared for her, but she thinks he should have the master bedroom. “I’m not a Stark,” Jon says, but “you are to me,” says Sansa. He asks if she trusts Littlefinger. “Only a fool would,” she says bitterly. Sansa apologizes for not telling him about the Vale army. Jon tells her that they need to trust each other. They can’t afford to fight a war between themselves. He kisses her on the forehead, and she tells him a white raven came from the Citadel. Winter is here. Jon smiles. “Father always promised, didn’t he?”
Olenna meets with Ellaria and the Sand Snakes in Dorne. She has no patience for the girls, and very little patience for Ellaria, who wants to be allies with the Tyrells. Cersei killed Olenna’s son and grandchildren; she is not after survival. Ellaria offers her something different: vengeance. She rings a bell and Varys appears, offering “fire and blood.”
Daenerys tells Daario that she doesn’t want him to come with them to Westeros. He is to stay in Meereen with the Second Sons to keep the peace and help the people choose their own leaders. Daario does not like this: “I am here for you, not them.” Dany points out that the best way to make alliances is with marriage – or promises of marriage. It wouldn’t do for her to arrive with her lover. Daario doesn’t care if he is the “mistress,” he just wants her. She still refuses and Daario blames Tyrion for telling her to do this. Dany bristles: no one tells her what to do. Specific orders will be left for him, and she has renamed Slaver’s Bay as Bay of Dragons. Dany bids him farewell without so much as a goodbye kiss.
Tyrion waits for her in the antechamber. In a weak attempt to comfort her, he points out that self-sacrifice make for a good ruler. She is in the “great game” now and asks if she is afraid. What frightens Dany is that she said goodbye to a man who loved her, whom she thought she cared for, and felt nothing. Tyrion has been asked to “believe” in things his whole life. Sometimes it was tempting, but then he saw where it got people – until now. “I believe in you.” Dany presents him with a large pin, which she places on his tunic and names him the hand of the queen. Tyrion kneels before her in acceptance.
Littlefinger finds Sansa beneath a tree that she played under as a child. She regrets praying for what she wanted, not for what she had. Littlefinger admits that he dreams of seeing himself on the Iron Throne – with Sansa at his side. He leans in for a kiss, and she stops him gently. As Sansa leaves, Littlefinger reminds her that she is the future of House Stark. “Who should the north rally behind, you or a motherless bastard born in the south?”
Benjen takes Bran and Meera to the foot of the wall, explaining that the wall is spelled to prevent the dead from crossing it. This is as far as he goes, but he promises to fight for the living as long as he can. He leaves them, and Meera helps Bran get close to the weirwood tree. Meera worries that he isn’t ready for this; Bran says he has to be.
Bran is transported back to the vision of his young father at the Tower of Joy. Ned goes inside, following the pained cries of his sister Lyanna. He finds her in bed, covered in blood. She tries to be brave, but she doesn’t want to die. She pulls Ned close, whispering to him. We only hear snippets of what she has to say. “You have to protect him.” “If he finds out he will kill him.” “Promise me you will.” A baby is placed in Ned’s arms. This is clearly Jon. The scene dissolves to adult Jon, just in case you need it spelled out, but let’s stay here for a second. Ned is not Jon’s biological father; he is his uncle. So Jon still has Stark blood, mixed with what I imagine is Targaryen blood. Of course, we still don’t know definitively who Jon’s father is. I would guess that his father is Rhaegar Targaryen since that is who kidnapped Lyanna. That would make Jon Daenerys’ nephew, not brother like all the internet rumors have suggested. Of course, the Mad King could have fathered Jon, making him and Dany siblings.
Now, in present day, Jon and Sansa sit before their army in the Great Hall. Jon warns that their true enemy won’t wait out the storm; they bring the storm. Lyanna Mormont stands and addresses several of the other lords who initially refused Jon Snow’s call. “The north remembers. We know no king but a Stark. I don’t care if he is a bastard; Stark blood runs through his veins. He is our king!” Wyman Manderly stands and calls him the White Wolf; other lords ask forgiveness for not fighting beside him initially. Everyone in the Great Hall stands, raises their swords, and declare Jon the king of the north. Jon stands and Sansa smile proudly, until she notices Littlefinger giving her an odd look. She is unsettled.
Jaime and Bronn lead their men back to King’s Landing, and in the distance, see a huge smoldering pit where the Sept once was. This can’t be good.
Cersei, with a full court following behind her, enters the throne room. Jaime slips in through a side door and arrives just in time to see Qyburn pronounce her the queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
I can’t imagine Cersei’s reign will be long. Daenerys’ tremendous fleet of boats is sailing across the ocean, her dragons flying protectively overhead. Varys is aboard Dany’s ship, and has brought with him Tyrell and Martell ships. In addition to the Greyjoy ships, and whatever the Unsullied were able to scrape together… that’s a lot of damned ships.
You can get an inside look at the making of the Game of Thrones Season 6 finale in the videos below!