‘Game of Thrones’ Recap: Who run the world?

Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage. photo: Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO
Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage. photo: Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

Winter is here. It arrived in full force during the packed Game of Thrones Season 6 finale “Winds of Winter,” and the landscape of the show has seismically changed.

Bells did not ring in Kings’ Landing as predicted last week. Instead, they were destroyed by the actions of Cersei. She set up a trap, an elaborate scheme, to eliminate everyone standing in her way. As Loras Tyrell’s trial happens, Lancel Lannister discovers Cersei’s plot: the Wildfire under the Sept of Baelor, engineered to erupt during the trial. Cersei was safe distance away, and King Tommen was kept with Cersei while Margaery, Loras, the High Sparrow, Mace Tyrell and many others were eviscerated by the Wildfire.

It was a stunning act of successful scheming – an outcome not usual for Cersei – but it did lead to the fulfillment of Cersei’s prophecy at the beginning of Season 5 that said she would bury all of her children. And Tommen’s is the most tragic: a weak king unable to use his better angels to shout down the demons surrounding his life. His suicide leaves the Iron Throne without an heir (the jury is still out on Ser Pounce’s claim), so now it reverts to Queen Cersei. She is now the woman in charge, and no one can stand in her way. For the first time, Jamie looks frightened of Cersei when she stares at him with her Claire Underwood-esque “I make the terror” look at the end of the episode, but Jamie has seen this before with the Mad King.

How long she will be on the throne remains to be seen, however, as another queen is on her way. There is not a lot of action in the Daenerys plot line tonight, but the result is goose bump worthy. Daenerys names Tyrion Hand of the Queen and six seasons worth of build up starts to pay off in the closing scene. Daenerys is joined by the Dothraki, the unsullied, the Iron Fleet, the Tyrells and Dorne as she sails for Westeros. She has the brains with Tyrion and Varys, the brawn with her alliances and, of course, the dragons. The invasion of Kings Landing can begin.

In the north, another monarch emerges. In a scene eerily similar to the one that named Rob Stark the King in the North, Lady Mormont recognizes Jon Snow as THE KING IN THE NORTH. This motion is carried by the whole room as northern houses pledge their fealty to THE KING IN THE NORTH Jon. He has a mature and cunning Sansa at his side, and the support of a united north. Winterfell is home once again to a young wolf – The White Wolf – leading the pack. While the first “King in the North” fealty exercise did not end well for the participants, THE KING IN THE NORTH Jon finally has the recognition of a true born as he commands the north.

Speaking of true born, the reveal of a theory long proclaimed by fans finally came to light in the Tower of Joy. R + L = J has been used as code for “Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon for several years and it was confirmed that Lyanna gave birth to THE KING IN THE NORTH Jon, and it’s heavily implied that the “R” is Rhaegar, as we know it’s not Robert Baratheon’s. This would give him a claim to the throne, similar to Daenerys’, and a reason to possibly ally with Daenerys in the future.

Arya returns to Westeros and is able to cross a name off her list. She is able to get Walder Frey alone using a different face and serves her revenge cold. A girl is no longer no one: she is Arya Stark (and apparently a little bit of Sweeney Todd considering she fed Walder his own son in a pie) and she has reached the peak of her arc using her abilities under the Many Faced God to become an incredibly deadly assassin. When she does return to Winterfell, how she adjusts to THE KING IN THE NORTH Jon and Sansa with her new abilities will be an interesting plot point in the coming seasons.

But for now, winter is upon us. A long, hard year between seasons awaits as we head into the offseason to two more seasons that will feel the ramifications from this climatic episode.


Cersei is now the Queen due to her cunning but she has enemies. She has a strong Daenerys coming her way, and a shifty-eyed Jamie wary of her. She draws parallels to the Mad King, and we all know how that ended.


Sansa rightly shut Littlefinger down as he told her his dreams of the Iron Throne with her at his side. She does not need him, and calls him out on his opportunism. Daenerys also mentions that the best way to create alliances is through marriage, perhaps a hint of foreshadowing.


Queen Margaery Tyrell, Mace Tyrell, King Tommen, Walder Frey, Lancel Lannister, Loras Tyrell, Maester Pycelle.

Stray Observation

Arya’s act of cooking Walder Frey’s sons into a pie is very reminiscent of Bran’s story about the Rat Cook, that fed the King his own son in a pie.


There are two seasons left. The seventh season, I believe, will mostly see the politics of kings landing take priority, while the second season will see that all erased in hopes of defeating the White Walkers. A song of Ice (White Walkers) and Fire (Dragons) and all that jazz.