SPOILER WARNING: If you have not watched Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 10: “The Winds of Winter,” do not read on.
King’s Landing, more specifically the Great Sept of Baelor, is in ruins after the shocking first half of “The Winds of Winter.” Cersei destroys all of her enemies with wildfire. Brother Lancel crawls towards three lit candles laid in place to ignite the secret weapon, but he is the first to meet a fiery death. His eyes glow a bright green before we see a spectacular shot of King’s Landing imploding. Queen Margaery, Lord Mace Tyrell, The High Sparrow and his followers, Kevan Lannister and many others — all reduced to ash.
The only major player left unscathed is the tragic King Tommen. Cersei has the Mountain seclude him in the Red Keep during the fireworks. But as it usually goes with Cersei and her wickedness, she can’t save her last remaining child from his prophesied death. Tommen commits suicide by jumping out of a window, and Cersei is crowned Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. A true “BURN THEM ALL!” moment for the new Queen, she has been the arch enemy of the series since the beginning. The killing of Robert Baratheon is what started this whole mess. Her methods have gone from sleazy backroom politics to complete savagery and disregard for any life that isn’t her own.
I didn’t mind Cersei’s shock and awe claim to the Throne, she deserved her revenge and it’s clear King’s Landing was going to meet a fate just as awful if the High Sparrow kept control. Tommen surely would have died anyway, Margaery was in too deep and the Tyrell family is nothing but a cunning old woman now. So, when Jaime returns from the Riverlands to find his city in turmoil, it’s his face that leaves us wondering. What will he do to Cersei? Will he blame her for their son’s death? Will he stab her in the back like he did the Mad King? The horror is real, and Jaime’s actions in the future will have to be swift and unforgiving unless he wants to meet certain death (by means of mob revolt, or by Dany’s Dragons) with Cersei.
Queen Cersei’s enemies are piling up, they include Daenerys (who has begun her journey to Westero’s with a gigantic army, gigantic beasts and Tyrion as her hand), a building alliance between Olenna and Ellaria in Dorne, Arya Stark — who is now using her Faceless Men abilities to work through her kill list, starting with the long-overdue killing of Walder Frey, RIP Old guy — and, of course, the White Walker threat in the North. She knew the consequences of her actions, and perhaps she doesn’t care. Cersei’s character is now unhinged, bloodthirsty and still as cunning as ever. She’s the last human antagonist on the show, second in threat level only to the undead and their eternal winter, but she’s also the most interesting. A piece of history repeating itself. A final ode to the terrifying big Game between Mad Kings, Queens and Warriors, before it becomes a clash of ice and fire. Magic and dragons. The repossession by the legendary Targaryen bloodline.
Through Bran, the new Three-Eyed Raven, we finally learn of what happened at the Tower of Joy. Ned Stark finds a dying Lyanna after she gives birth to an infant Jon Snow. The son of Rhaegar Targaryen, this is pretty mind-blowing considering Jon’s now the King in the North and has succeeded in banning the Northern Houses together. This could throw a political wrench between them if Jon’s true birthparents are revealed. There is already tension growing between Littlefinger, Sansa and Jon — The revelation that the King in the North has Targaryen blood won’t serve him well, only complicating an already dire situation once the White Walkers turn up.
With Daenerys on point to Westeros with the biggest army in the Seven Kingdoms, it’s not far fetched to say she’ll steam roll King’s Landing and lend Jon a hand with the Walkers. The biggest question is what will she do when she learns Jon is her nephew?
Winter has arrived. Let the games begin.