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GAME OF THRONES Re-Throned: “The Winds of Winter” (S6, E10)

GAME OF THRONES Re-Throned: “The Winds of Winter” (S6, E10)

Winter is coming, but not soon enough. So to help pass the time until season seven of Game of Thrones, we’re doing a weekly re-watch of the series, episode-by-episode, with the knowledge of what’s to come and—therefore—more information about the unrevealed rich history of events that took place long before the story began. Be warned, though: that means this series is full of spoilers for every season, even beyond the episode itself. So if you haven’t watched all of the show yet immediately get on that and then come back and join us for Game of Thrones Re-Throned.

Because the next best thing to watching new episodes is re-watching old ones.

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Season 6, Episode 10: “The Winds of Winter”

Original Air Date: June 19th, 2016
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Written by: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

For over a year I have re-watched, analyzed, and written about every. single. Game of Thrones episode, so I don’t say this lightly: this is probably the best episode of the entire series. The opening sequence alone is unlike anything from the previous 59 episodes. It’s deliberate and haunting, and even more powerful on a second viewing, because when you aren’t wondering what will happen, the true weight of the who and why comes to the forefront.

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The opening sequence had me tearing up this time, knowing just what kind of horrible fate awaited so many people. (I only cried three times the night “The Winds of Winter” first aired. If you’re curious: Tyrion being named Hand of the Queen, Bran’s vision of the Tower of Joy, and the King in the North. This time I also got teary when Davos confronted Melisandre about Shireen. So five. Five times.)

But we’re not here just to appreciate this episode, we’re here to figure out what it might all mean for the final two seasons. There’s a lot to cover, but when we finish we’ll be ready for season seven.

tyrion-daenerys

The Mad Queen’s Only Remaining Joy

It was said numerous times throughout the show that Cersei would burn cities to the ground to protect her children, but when she actually did so it wasn’t to protect Tommen, but rather to protect herself. She wasn’t even there to comfort her softhearted son when he watched his wife die, and being alone with his grief made him jump out his tower window to his death.

But what really should worry the rest of Westeros is not that she was willing to kill hundreds of innocent people to avoid punishment for her crimes, but that she enjoyed it so much.

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There was that devilish sip of wine, but also how she “shamefully” told her new prisoner, Septa Unella, how she does things because they feel good, and blowing up the Sept of Baelor felt best.

“I killed your High Sparrow, and all his little sparrows, all his septons, all his septas, all his filthy soldiers, because it felt good to watch them burn. It felt good to imagine their shock and their pain. No thought has ever given me greater joy.”

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After this admission she learns her last child is dead, which she reacts to with shocking and terrifying stoicism. Her only meaningful connection to the world is gone, and all she has to live for is doing things that feel good. Nothing made her happier than killing her enemies, which she now now surrounded by on all sides and especially within King’s Landing. The only thing she has more of than enemies is wildfire.

She is capable of anything and everything.

The Faith of the Seven Was Led By Frauds

In his final moments, when the High Sparrow knew he had been bested by Cersei, a look of absolute terror came over him. For a man who claimed not to fear death–had even said he deserved to die–when the time came for him to face his gods he was scared like everyone else. That’s because he never cared about saving souls, he didn’t want to help Cersei or Loras, he wanted power. He was a pious phony, and that’s why he was afraid to face the gods.

high-sparrow

Cersei correctly calls out Septa Unella for her fraudulence too.

“Confess. It felt good. Beating me, starving me, frightening me, humiliating me. You didn’t do it because you cared about my atonement. You did it because it felt good.”

Meslisandre burned people alive, but the Faith of the Seven and their fondness for torture wasn’t much better. Religion has failed the people of Westeros thus far. In the coming Great War the living might want to find something else to put its faith in going forward.

Jaime Faces Who He Was

Walder Frey, who killed Robb Stark, puts himself and Jaime on the same level.

“Here we are now, two kingslayers. We know what it’s like to have them grovel to our faces and snigger behind our backs. We don’t mind, do we? Fear is a marvelous thing.”

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But Jaime killed the Mad King to save tens of thousands, he didn’t betray his king to raise his family’s fortune. And despite what he likes to claim, Jaime has always cared what others think. Now that he believes in honor and duty, ideals he used to scoff at, he doesn’t want to be held in the same disregard as the despicable Walder Frey. That’s why if you are going to bet on which Jaime we might see going forward, place your money on the good man we’ve seen develop over the course of the show. He’s also the best bet to save the Seven Kingdoms from a mad monarch once more.

Arya and Her Stone Heart

Lady Stoneheart from the novels will never come to the show, but we still got a coldblooded, murderous Stark. This one is younger, can wear other faces, and is just as deadly. Watching Arya get vengeance for her family by slitting Walder Frey’s throat (after feeding him a Frey-son meat pie) is satisfying, but only if you ignore how young she is to be this ruthless. She somehow takes far less joy in this justified killing than Cersei did killing hundreds of innocents.

What kind of life and ending can Arya have if she completely loses her humanity? Aren’t dead-eyed killers without regard for the living the type of monsters about to invade Westeros?

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The Citadel Might Contain Needed Answers, But Not For Long

Sam arrives at the home of the maesters, the Citadel of Oldtown, with its iconic lighthouse. The size of its library is unimaginable, thought to be the largest in the world. If there is some book with information on how to beat the White Walkers it is surely here.

But since we know George R.R. Martin fashioned many locations and plots on real events, it’s hard not to think about the fate of the Citadel’s ancient real world equivalent, the Library at Alexandria. It housed one of the largest collections of knowledge in the world, but was destroyed in a great fire.

sam-oldtown-citadel

This doesn’t guarantee Oldtown’s Citadel will have the same fate, but we like to prepare for the worst with this show. If it does, hopefully Sam finds any answers it might contain before they are lost forever, and before the living lose to the dead.

Sansa is Smart to Baelish’s Schemes

One of the season seven trailer’s had us worried about a growing rift between Sansa and Jon this year, and then Kit Harington confirmed those fears. On a re-watch though Sansa and Jon seem to be on the same page far more than we might have remembered. Plus she definitely knows who and what Baelish really is, telling Jon, “Only a fool would trust Littlefinger.”

sansa

When Littlefinger meets her in the godswood and says he sees himself on the Iron Throne with her beside him, she shuts him down. Even after he informs her he has formally declared for House Stark she lets him know that doesn’t matter. “You’ve declared for other houses before, Lord Baelish. It’s never stopped you from serving yourself.”

We trust Sansa going forward. She’s not the naive little girl who left Winterfell years ago, and she, more than anyone, knows how dangerous Littlefinger is.

Ned Stark Was the Greatest Man Who Ever Lived

We wrote about the Tower of Joy revelation of Jon’s birth and what it could mean after the episode originally aired, but I still wanted to use this sub-header because Ned Stark was the best. THE BEST.

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Our Long National Meereen Nightmare Is Over

Daenerys arrived at Meereen in episode three of season four, the 33rd episode overall. She didn’t leave for 27 more episodes.

I’ve never been happier in my life to see someone take a cruise.

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But while I’m overjoyed to see her finally head to Westeros, I do wonder if Daario is right that she won’t actually be happy to finally get the Iron Throne she has always wanted. He called her a conqueror, not a ruler, and that is when she is at her best. The same thing happened to Robert after there were no wars left to fight. Ruling and fighting aren’t the same thing.

And what will happen to her Dothraki when she takes control? She isn’t going to let her nomadic foreign horde live their normal lives in Westeros (she won’t even let the Iron Islanders reave and they are her allies), not unless she wants an immediate revolt by every lord in Westeros. But then what happens to the Dothraki? How can they possibly exist peacefully in the Seven Kingdoms?

daenerys-targaryen

Whatever answers George R.R. Martin and the show has to those questions, they won’t be neat or easy. Daenerys might be the only person who will be glad to have a Great War to fight.

And we can’t wait to see her do it.

And that’s it! A full re-watch, just in time for season seven. Thank you for reading along with us over the last year, and we wish you good fortune in the seasons to come.

But what do you think of this episode? What about everything up to this point? Did we miss anything important? Tell us one more time in the comments section below.

Images: HBO

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