From the opening scenes, this season finale was lit. And it belonged to Cercei, who starts the action by blowing up the Sept of Baelor and offing the Church of the Seven (good riddance!), Maester Pycelle (meh) and the Tyrell siblings (nooooo Margaery!) all at once. Tommen, who survives only because Gregor Clegane makes him stay in his room, can’t bear the bloodshed and jumps out a window. The episode ends with Cercei on the Iron Throne, at last.
Meanwhile, the Northern houses have gotten over their notions of propriety to name the bastard Jon Snow their king. Jon seems a little freaked out, and rightfully so: this is the same business that happened right before Rob got it at the Red Wedding. Sister Sansa, for her part, has renounced her “foolish, childish” ways, and has blossomed into a smart and serious woman. Although Jon and Sansa have ostensibly joined forces, they still seem a bit disconnected from one another. As a Stark supporter, I hope they can overcome this tension: they will obviously be more powerful together, and Littlefinger is still lurking in the background.
Over in Meereen, Dany names Tyrion the Hand of the Queen. Tyrion, ever the charmer, humanizes Dany. They have become one of my favorite couples to watch. Last week, Tyrion bid Varys farewell as the eunuch embarked on a semi-secret mission to secure friends in Westeros. This week we learn that he went to Dorne, as has a furious Lady Tyrell. A Targaryen-Tyrell-Martell alliance seems like a good idea to me.
Better still was Arya’s triumphant return to Westeros—my favorite scene in the 120 minute episode. Sneaking into the Twins with the face of a servant (and confirming the Many-Faced God taught her something after all), Arya serves Lord Frey his own sons baked in a pie, then slits his throat.
I can’t wait until next season (ten more months!) to see who is next on Arya’s list. Her skills as a super assassin have the potential to make huge waves. I do hope she doesn’t rock the boat with the Starks, especially now that Jon’s Lyanna Stark / Rhaegar Targaryen parentage has finally been confirmed. Another thing this episode made certain: Winter has come, and people are ready to fight.