Title: Game of Thrones: “The Winds of Winter” Review
Air Date: June 26, 2016
Before we begin – Yes, there are Game of Thrones spoilers ahead. I will not celebrate every twist and turn, but if we are going to talk about what we like, we have to discuss the great scenes. Stop reading if you do not like spoilers. You have been warned!
It may be pure hyperbole at this point, but this was the best episode of Game of Thrones I have ever watched. As someone who has read the books multiple times, watched endless theory videos, and had multiple conversations about the story, I was still blown away. One more time, do not read on if you have not watched the episode!
Ready? Let’s go.
The entire trial was a red herring. Loras confessed? Big deal. Margaery figures out Cersei’s absence? Big deal. Septa Unella being tortured forever by “Ser Gregor?” Who cares? The Sept of Baelor exploded and Tommen killed himself because of it. Holy shit.
Game of Thrones is often accused of having to up the ante in order to make an impact. This is often true, but it undermines a lot of the successes in this story. Tonight’s episode, “The Winds of Winter” bucked that trend. Everything about this episode just made sense, especially the big one: Tommen’s suicide.
Prophecies usually self-perpetuate in literature, and Game of Thrones is not about to break that streak. Cersei killed her last son, born of incest, and what is her punishment? The Iron Throne. Sounds like a fitting end for her. The King’s Landing storyline was fantastic this episode, as everything in the build up kept the audience in suspense. And then the payoff…
Think about everyone who died in this episode. The High Sparrow is gone. Pycelle is dead. The entire Tyrell family, besides Olenna, is dead. Even poor old Lancel, who was a part of the most intense birthday blowout scene of all time, is dead. The Faith Militant leadership, which Cersei created, is now gone.
And Cersei is the Queen. It is what she has strived for the entire series, and she finally has it. The Iron Throne is hers. And even her lover/brother hates her.
Game of Thrones is at its best when it lets viewers relate to the characters, and “The Winds of Winter” did it better than any episode ever has. We know why Cersei blew up everyone. The Tyrells played the game well, but they are dead for a reason. And even if they aren’t dead, characters in this episode were faced with some serious dilemmas.
Sam. Whoooaaaaaa Sam. Ever seen a library like that?
Sam had a Harry Potter moment when he finally got to see the library of Oldtown. It was almost like he had forsaken everything he had loved before; similar to Olenna, the Queen of Thorns. She was in Dorne (and so was Varys), and the Lannisters are under serious duress. The only ally they have left is the Freys, and unfortunately…
Arya is back! And Walder Frey is as dead as her mother! She apparently learned something over in Braavos and took out one of the most hated characters in Game of Thrones history in the process. Walder’s death was a bit obvious, with Jaime questioning what purpose he had, but it was still great to see Arya enact some of her revenge against a seemingly untouchable character. Jaime seemed awfully curious about the girl she was “pretending” as, however. Hopefully, he knows nothing about the person that Arya was pretending to be. That meat pie business, though… brutal.
In Winterfell, Jon banished Melisandre. It wasn’t as exciting as it seemed in the trailers, but now Jon lacks magic on his side. Still in Winterfell, Littlefinger wants the throne of Westeros. My guess is that Sansa won’t let him have it. Petyr Baelish is obviously trying to come out as the winner of the entire game, but it seems as if Sansa will not let him have it. Deadpool betting: do both of them survive next season? Either one?
We have a new King in the North, as the totally awesome Lady Mormont led a cheer for everyone’s favorite bastard. and Danaerys has finally decided to attack Westeros with her unstoppable army. Even with all that, Bran gave us the most compelling storyline, as the “Tower of Joy” scene was finally completed. It was not confirmed, but 98% implied, that Jon Snow was born of Lyanna Stark. And Ned is not the father, but only protecting the boy. This is not terribly shocking, but it should be an issue for everyone who still wants to claim the throne, and trouble for Cersei Lannister since she currently sits upon it. Dragons, Unsullied, the Second Sons, and a Dothraki horde are all headed your way. Gonna smirk your way out of it?
Overall, it is tough to say anything about “The Winds of Winter.” This was the best episode of Game of Thrones ever. The unexpected deaths, the fan service… every aspect either answered a question or asked one for next season. No, Lady Stoneheart probably won’t join the show. But if you want to see some good Game of Thrones action, “The Winds of Winter” is probably right for you.
- Characters: Everyone stood out, but Cersei stole the show.
- Story: There are many months to wait. Lots of storylines were tied up, but even more were left open.
- Cinematography: The opening fifteen minutes were amazing. The piano accompanying everyone preparing for the trial was an outstanding way to begin, especially considering where it all ended up.
- Acting: Cersei. Tommen. Margaery… Everyone. Can I just list all the characters? Amazing episode.
- King's Landing was as intense as television can get.
- New King in the North
- Dany is coming home
- Perfection on the screen