Warning: This post contains spoilers for season six of “Game of Thrones”
With “Game of Thrones” in full power as one of the largest television phenomenons of recent years, Sunday nights have never been more exciting.
On Sunday night, the finale for season six of “Game of Thrones” premiered. As the show slowly reaches it’s climax, with supposedly two seasons and 13 episodes left, the cast of characters has become smaller than ever and the plots have become more interlaced. The sixth season has been one of the most powerful yet, with the final two episodes blowing much of the rest of the series out of the water.
Season six started following a series of heartbreaking events. Stannis Baratheon had met his end at the hands of Brienne of Tarth, Arya Stark had lost her sight, Daenerys Targaryen had been captured again, and, most upsetting, Jon Snow was dead. As the television series officially moved beyond the story of the books, fans were left wondering exactly what the land of Westeros had in store next. Theories of Jon Snow’s survival flooded the internet, and viewers were left wondering exactly how many of their favorite characters were going to survive in a show known for killing off practically everyone.
Season six was a slow build up. Small but powerful events kept the story moving forward, although some of them were surprisingly predictable, such as Arya’s second chance or Jon Snow’s eventual revival at the hands of The Red Woman. Many scenes were almost fan service in how much hope they allowed fans, which is an unusual feeling for longtime watchers of the show. While this hope was welcome, it also left fans feeling uneasy and wondering just how long their few surviving favorite characters remain on screen. Plenty of scenes were surprising and heartbreaking, such as Hodor’s epic death in “Hold the Door” and the return of Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, and fans were taken on an exceptionally powerful emotional roller coaster all of season six. The entire season felt as if there was some massive tension building underneath all of the small victories, and when that tension broke, it broke explosively.
In true “Game of Thrones” fashion, the penultimate episode of the season was a battle. The battle between Jon Snow and Ramsey Bolton for Winterfell, known as the “Battle of the Bastards,” had been building hype all season. In what has been possibly the best battle scene between two armies seen on the show, viewers were gripping their seats. It seemed that all had been lost and that Jon was going to die yet again, before the Arryn armies arrived and Sansa Stark was finally able to see Ramsey Bolton meet the fate he deserved. “Battle of the Bastards” proved that “Game of Thrones” knows exactly how to present a battle scene, of which there is no doubt the final two seasons will be chock full of.
The season finale was also significantly more powerful than previous ones, as an entire group of story lines came together and reached an apex. In an opening scene that chilled to the bone, Cersei Lannister regained every drop of respect she had lost this season as everything fell apart around her. Cersei’s trial had been teased all season, and when it was revealed in the prior episode that the trial would not be a trial by combat, many fans were expecting that the rein of the queen mother would finally be over. However, in a scene full of beautiful music, costumes and cinematography, Cersei’s plan was finally revealed as the High Sparrow, Margaery, Loras Tyrell and the entire Sept went up in the flames of Wildfire, killing everyone in the surrounding area. Although Cersei had finally defeated her enemies, her final surviving child committed suicide following the death of his wife, leaving her sitting on the iron throne with a cold and hardened heart.
Fans were also treated to the answer of a question that has been burning for years: Who are Jon Snow’s parents? Many fan’s have speculated that Jon is not the bastard son of Eddard Stark, but in fact the child of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. The show teased an answer multiple times this season, but the theory was proved correct in a vision of Bran’s, just as Jon was named the king in The North by the other northern families. With this finally confirmed, Jon now sits as the rightful successor to the mad king, and the heir to all of Westeros.
The final scene of the finale also showed Dany finally reaching her goal from season one, as thousands of ships containing Dothraki and Unsullied men sailed across the narrow sea to Westeros. In full support of Daenerys Stormborn are the Martells, the Tyrells and the Ironborn, who follow Yara Greyjoy. In a beautiful scene of all the ships sailing as dragons fly overhead, it seems as though Dany might finally have the army she needs to retake the iron throne.
The season six finale showed exactly where things stand in the world of “Game of Thrones.” Cersei Lannister controls the Iron Throne, Jon Targaryen-Snow is the king in The North alongside his sister, Arya Stark is headed back home and killing along the way, and practically everyone else is backing Danarys Targaryen as she finally joins the game. The White Walkers still prove to be the endgame threat of the series as winter finally arrives, and as the three-eyed-raven, Bran Stark might be the only one who can stop them.
“Game of Thrones” is reaching its climax, and as the final two seasons are upon us, our favorite characters will be reminded of one thing: in the “Game of Thrones,” you win or you die.
Collegian Social Managing Editor Chapman W. Croskell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @Nescwick.