Let’s hear it for Game of Thrones. (With as few spoilers as is humanly possible.) I’ve been bedazzled, overwhelmed, excited and addicted, just like so many of you… but nowhere more so than while watching the season finale of Season 6.
For one, there was the exciting reveal — finally Bran Stark’s warging not (immediately) leading to death and destruction of those he holds dear. (No, we are not over Hodor’s death.)
|House Stark romped home to Winterfell.
But this latest information changes everything, right? Tying back to those original theories about Jon Snow and Daenarys Targaryen being critical to the Song of Fire and Ice itself.
The other delight is the theories floating about on who the three dragon riders are going to be. No question that just as House Stark has romped home to Winterfell, House Targaryen is looking up.
And the women are bringing solid game.
When we started watching Game of Thrones Season 1, that infamous season with probably the most gratuitous sex and violence on TV — a season, where a friend of mine asked if her husband was watching porn — I would never have guessed that the story arc would lead us here.
|Lady Lyanna Mormont remembers.
The clincher of a speech for Jon Snow towards the end of the episode wasn’t his own sort of tired and tested motif about the war that’s coming, so much as young Lady Lyanna Mormont of Bear Island, whipping the hall into shape.
“The North Remembers”, this 10 year old girl says, calling out one grizzled lord after the other for not heeding the call, despite being pledged to House Stark. Yes she gives them quite the lashing, shaking them out of their lethargy and delivering them to Snow.
Despite him being a bastard, Ned Stark’s blood runs in his veins she says, in a major show of support. But wait, that has serious implications, given what Bran discovers, doesn’t it? Gotta love this show, plot twists and all.
For the viewer, this season has been an absolute delight — except the trauma of losing Hodor. (Really, not coming to terms with that anytime soon.)
But who knew that we would come to this moment when the kickass women of Westeros finally come into their own?
From the warrior whose “rule is only just beginning”, a triumphant Daenarys, mother of dragons, and now leader of a massive fleet and solid following?
To Cersei Lannister, who’s still bringing her own brand of power politics, humiliation and revenge, and proving you can never count her out, much as you would like to.
|To Queen Cersei.
To Arya Stark, finally ratcheting it up a notch, and how! Getting started on that Kill list of hers, mastering the face-changing and being an all-round badass, after being whacked about for the better part of this season.
And oh my god, Sansa Stark. Finally! Sansa has had the most insipid lines and characteristics for the better part of the show, for the longest time just a vehicle for the worst acts of depravity and subject of so much plotting, she was almost a prop…A beautiful damsel in need of major rescuing.
Well, she’s finally proven her mettle, and possibly that old adage, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
|Sansa Stark - the Daughter of the North - is in the Great Game.
Not only did she have the cavalry (to) ride to the rescue in "Battle of the Bastards", she also finally got her own sweet revenge on that ghastly sadist, Bolton.
So here she is — a 3D flesh and blood Daughter of the North, and it’s in that last conversation with Littlefinger where you realise that she’s someone you might back to sit on the Iron Throne. I would never have guessed it, but there it is. She’s in the Great Game now, to paraphrase Tyrion Lannister.
And judging by the real-life Great Game the world saw, this is going to be eventful here on out.
“Winter has come,” Sansa tells Jon, and indeed it has. (Nice to see them both enjoy their private joke, after hearing about Winter coming for ever so long.)
|To the King of the North.
The other welcome scene was a beaming Samwell Tarly, who has never looked happier than when he first enters the Citadel… despite being forced to leave Gilly and the baby at the entrance.
Apart from that one reminder of the patriarchy, I have to say, that these surviving characters are pretty much smashing it down one stereotype at a time.
Think Daenarys’ conversation with her lover, in a fraught exchange on bringing him to Westeros as a mistress, when she’s finally ready to leave Meereen… and so many more examples I dare not share for fear of ruining your viewing experience!
(And indeed, this season has been a survival skills class in avoiding spoilers online — They have been everywhere! From Twitter to Facebook, they’ve been jumping out at me, and affecting my heart rate week after week, so I’m finally relieved as much as delighted that I’m up to speed.)
So, what next?
|Off to King's Landing.
Jon Snow, his aunt and Tyrion Lannister might well prove to be the Dragon riders of lore, but what else aren’t we seeing coming?
Is there anything else in the haunting prophecy Cersei was told, which thus far has chillingly proved true?
Can we say with that one blaze of wildfire that it’s just about over for House Tyrell, except perhaps for one monumental act of revenge?
Will Bran have the full power he needs now, as the Three-Eyed Raven?
And has everyone forgotten about the one surviving Baratheon? Will Gendry who had befriended Arya Stark several seasons ago? The very same Baratheon whose blood was taken by Lady Melisandre? The young man Ser Davos managed to save?
Meanwhile, no prizes for guessing, it’s way too soon to write off Melisandre, banished in a blistering and just rage, to be sure. But as she herself predicts, she will be essential in the war that’s to come.
|Down, but not out.
Will Jon Snow being brought back from the dead prove critical in that battle with the White Walkers, by the way?
So many questions!
For those of us who’ve had our interest stoked by the show, it may be time to delve into George RR Martin’s cult classics, even as the world prays for him to write faster!
David Benioff and DB Weiss, the creators of the show, have sort of been doing their own thing for a while now, though, juggling quotes around, inventing scenes and so on, so we might not be able to entirely predict what they have up their sleeves for the next season.
Then again, the clues may well be hidden in the text. I think Samwell would approve.