Who run the world? In Westeros, there’s no doubt about it: girls! The longer the Game of Thrones plays on, the more it looks like this show is heading for a clash of queens in its final act. Whether they were seizing power, getting revenge or taking a well-deserved rest in the master bedroom at Winterfell, women were the major movers and shakers in this season’s oftentimes shocking finale. Here’s where Game of Thrones left us on Sunday, June 26, until it returns to HBO next year.
Arrivals and Departures
Samwell Tarly (John Bradley West) was back-burnered for most of this season, but the finale saw him arriving at the Citadel to get his Maester’s degree — where he’s probably still having a knowledge-gasm in the enormous, spectacular library. And Melisandre (Carice van Houten), after being confronted for her part in the murder of Princess Shireen, was banished to the south by Jon Snow (Kit Harington) to the great annoyance of Davos (Liam Cunningham), who was hoping for less banishment, more execution.
Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Twice
After retaking Riverrun with help from the Lannisters, Walder Frey (David Bradley) celebrated in a scene that contained many an eerie echo of the Red Wedding — complete with the big, bloody twist at the end. As Frey sat like a puffed-up peacock alone in the dining room, a young serving girl informed him that he’d be having his sons for lunch … literally. Because she’d turned them into mincemeat and baked them into a pie. Why? ‘Cause the serving girl wasn’t a servant at all, but Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) in disguise, back in action and crossing names off her kill list like a champ. In other words, Arya might be going home, but it looks like she’ll be taking a murderous detour or two first.
A Major Fan Theory Confirmed
Meanwhile, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) popped up just long enough to confirm what fans have suspected for ages: Ned Stark never fathered a bastard at all. Returning once more to the Tower of Joy, Bran saw his aunt Lyanna begging Ned to care for the child she’d just given birth to, the trueborn son of Rhaegar Targaryen. And who is that son? Hint: He knows nothing about any of this.
In other words, it’s Jon Snow. And despite being clueless about his parentage, fate is clearly pushing him in the direction of a throne, if not the throne. In addition to getting his birth story, we saw Jon being heralded and sworn fealty to as the new king in the North, while Sansa (Sophie Turner) looked on with fierce pride, and the ever-ambitious Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) looked like he was sucking on a lemon.
Cersei Lannister Sends Her Regards
Things were looking dire for Cersei (Lena Headey) last week, after King Tommen (Dean Charles Chapman) doomed her to face a tribunal of religious fanatics by outlawing trial by combat. But let’s be real: That was never going to happen. Instead, denied her trial by combat, Cersei opted for trial by fire.
No, no, not for her! For everyone else! With the help of Qyburn (Anton Lesser) and his vast stores of wildfire, Cersei blew up the Sept and everyone in it — including the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) and poor Ser Loras (Finn Jones), who went through the anguish of pleading guilty to his own sins and having his forehead carved up à la Sparrow for nothing. The only person spared from a fiery death was Tommen, who Cersei made sure was kept well away from the Sept — thus ensuring that he’d die a horrible splatty death several minutes later instead, when he threw himself off his balcony in a final act of teen rebellion. (Don’t tell me not to die, Mom!)
A Queen in the Wings
Needless to say, Cersei’s explosive choice made her a lot of enemies — particularly Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg), whose entire family went up in flames. But fortunately for her (and anyone else who cares to see Cersei toppled), it’s officially prime time to affiliate with Team Targaryen. In her last act before setting sail for King’s Landing, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) broke up with her boyfriend and named Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) her official hand, while Varys drummed up alliances for her with House Tyrell and Ellaria Sand. And now, Dany’s on her way to take what is hers with fire and blood — from a woman who’s just done exactly that herself.
In the last moments of the finale, we saw Cersei coolly ascending the Iron Throne — and Daenerys embarking on the last leg of her journey to try and steal it out from under her. Will it be a battle of the blondes when Game of Thrones returns for season 7? Or will Arya cross Cersei’s name off her kill list before Dany even finishes crossing the sea? We’ll be waiting on tenterhooks to find out.