How Shireen Baratheon’s Legacy Led To A Major ‘Game Of Thrones’ Revelation

How Shireen Baratheon’s Legacy Led To A Major ‘Game Of Thrones’ Revelation

Warning: Game of Thrones spoilers ahead.

From the return of a long-departed character to news of an unexpected pregnancy, Season 7 of Game of Thrones continues to slay with the latest episode ‘Eastwatch’. Yet, another huge moment flew under the radar amidst books and a mispronunciation, a major revelation that even the scholarly Samwell Tarly didn’t catch. This moment was brought to us by Gilly, but would not have been possible without Shireen Baratheon and her lasting impact. Let’s first take a look at Gilly’s discovery:

Gilly Uncovers The Real Story Behind R+L=J

As Gilly regaled a frustrated Sam with fun facts like the number of steps in the Citadel and how many windows were in the Great Sept of Baelor, she unwittingly stumbled upon the true story behind Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. The longtime fan theory that Rhaegar and Lyanna were Jon Snow’s parents—R+L=J—was confirmed in the Season 6 finale ‘The Winds of Winter’ via Bran’s vision at the Tower of Joy. But until now audiences still didn’t know the real deal behind Rhaegar and Lyanna. Some claimed Rhaegar kidnapped and raped Lyanna while others spoke of passionate lovers that essentially eloped, their love burning too bright for the Seven Kingdoms. Now, as Gilly tells Sam via the diligent recordings of High Septon Maynard,

“Maynard says here that he issued an annulment for a Prince ‘Ragger’ and remarried him to someone else at the same time in a secret ceremony in Dorne.”

Gilly has come a long way with her reading ability, but her pronunciations are still not perfect. Prince ‘Ragger’ is actually Prince Rhaegar. Gilly thus discovers that the tale of passionate, consensual love between Rhaegar and Lyanna is the true tale. Rhaegar’s marriage to Elia Martell was annulled by this High Septon Maynard who then secretly remarried him. The ‘someone else’ has to be Lyanna based on what is known about the timing of Rhaegar disappearing with Lyanna, the beginning of Robert’s Rebellion, and eventually the confirmation of R+L=J that Bran witnessed in his Tower of Joy vision.

Not only does this put to rest the debate about Rhaegar and Lyanna’s relationship, but it also clarifies that  is not a bastard. Since Lyanna and Rhaegar married, Jon is a legitimate Targaryen child. Had Rhaegar lived to succeed his father Aerys Targaryen—the Mad King—Jon would’ve been Rhaegar’s heir to the Iron Throne. Now by the laws of Westeros and the Targaryen claim, Jon has a better claim to the Iron Throne than his Aunt Daenerys (Aunt Daenerys sounds even weirder than I thought it would).

Brimming with justified frustration and contempt for the Citadel, Sam completely missed this revelation. For both the past and future of Jon Snow and all of Westeros, Gilly’s discovery will be crucial moving forward, though it wouldn’t have happened without Shireen Baratheon.

Shireen’s Lasting Legacy

Shireen’s death is easily one of the most heartbreaking moments in all of . As fans continue to struggle with the loss of the girl both so fiercely intelligent and sweet, Season 7 has provided some closure and comfort through the likes of Gilly and Davos Seaworth. Shireen’s relationship with her parents left much to be desired, yet she formed lovely relationships with Gilly and Davos. Both Gilly and Davos were illiterate, but Shireen taught them how to read. Sam helped Gilly learn to read as well, however, Shireen was also integral to building Gilly’s literacy skills.

Without Shireen, Gilly would’ve never learned to read. Without Gilly knowing how to read, the revelation about Rhaegar and Lyanna and what that means for Jon would currently remain a mystery. On a personal level, Shireen’s teaching has also enriched the relationship between Sam and Gilly. Gilly is now just as capable at sharing obscure, fun facts that broaden one’s perspective of the world. Sam and Gilly’s relationship is therefore more intellectual and just as sweet as ever.

The legacy of Shireen also lives on through Davos. Fans reveled in Davos correcting Jon’s grammar in ‘The Spoils Of War’ but the teaching credit seems to be going towards Stannis. More credit should go to Shireen as she directly taught Davos to read during numerous hours of instruction as opposed to Stannis’s occasional mutterings about grammar. Regardless, it’s comforting to see Shireen’s legacy live on through the literacy of both Davos and Gilly, whether it’s Gilly’s discovery or Davos correcting the King in the North’s grammar. Even in the cutthroat world of Westeros, literacy is essential.

Season 7 of Game of Thrones continues Sunday, August 20th on .

Image Credit: HBO

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Does An Unlikely Ally Await Tyene Sand In King’s Landing?

Does An Unlikely Ally Await Tyene Sand In King’s Landing?

It was a rough night for Tyene Sand. Tyene and her mother Ellaria Sand were taken captive following the brutal murders of Obara and Nymeria at the hands of Euron Greyjoy. Now Euron heads for King’s Landing with the priceless gift he promised Cersei. Queen Cersei’s rage will run unchecked as she torments the women responsible for lethally poisoning Myrcella. Life is pretty terrible for Tyene and her mother right now, but perhaps their doom isn’t quite sealed thanks to an unlikely ally in King’s Landing: Bronn. The opportunistic sellsword only became the anointed knight Ser Bronn of the Blackwater through working with Lannisters—the very people the Sands seek to destroy. So why would Bronn help these women?

Bronn’s History With Tyene

In Season 5 Bronn traveled to Dorne with Jaime Lannister on a foolhardy mission to find Myrcella and bring her back to King’s Landing. Tyene and her fellow Sand Snake sisters (R.I.P. Obara and Nymeria) clashed with Jaime and Bronn. During the fight Tyene’s dagger cut Bronn with the same poison that would later kill Myrcella. The poison nearly killed him while captive in the Dornish cells. Tyene saved him by tossing over the antidote, only after seducing Bronn from the opposite cell and making him agree that she’s the most beautiful women in the world. She also complimented Bronn’s singing and his looks.

[Credit: Giphy.com]

Will Bronn Help Tyene Or Her Mother?

Attraction and chemistry flared between Bronn and Tyene in Season 5. But more importantly, Tyene chose to save Bronn’s life when she could’ve easily allowed the poison to kill Bronn as it later did Myrcella. Bronn owes Tyene his life. Bad p*ssy is not worth betraying the Lannisters and risking his life.

A life debt is a different story.

Bronn may live for gold and the promises of great wealth that will lead to a castle and noblewoman, but he also has a code. He’s always remained brutally honest and loyal to both Tyrion and Jaime. Sure, they’ve paid him well and lured him with appealing promises but it’s still impressive he’s remained so loyal and honest.

Credit: Giphy.com

Jaime may still live by certain reasonable and moral principles unlike his sister, but all of that will be thrown out the window when Tyene and Ellaria arrive in King’s Landing. These are the women responsible for killing the daughter who died in Jaime’s arms seconds after telling Jaime she knew he was her father and was glad about it. Jaime will want Tyene and Ellaria to suffer just as much as Cersei does.

Thus, aiding Tyene would be the first instance of Bronn betraying the Lannisters he serves. Bronn probably won’t have any interest in helping Ellaria as they have no history and she was the real mastermind behind Myrcella’s death, though Tyene would want him to help her as well. Bronn is now faced with the choice of whether to try and save the life of a woman to whom he owes a life debt and has feelings for or to remain loyal to his benefactor and friend Jaime Lannister.

The Verdict

Ultimately it is unlikely that Bronn will step in to save Tyene or Ellaria from Cersei’s wrath. Beneath his ceaseless opportunism Bronn may live by a code, but part of that code is to remain alive and do what your generous benefactors ask of you. There is too much risk and not enough reward in this situation.

Bronn can also be seen next to Jaime Lannister on a battlefield sequence in a Season 7 trailer. Unless he’s able to save Tyene without Jaime, Cersei or any of their allies finding out, there’s no way Bronn would be next to Jaime on the battlefield.

Jaime and Bronn on the battlefield in a 'Game of Thrones' Season 7 trailer [Credit: HBO]
Credit: HBO
Still, things were left open-ended enough between Bronn and Tyene in Season 5 with hints towards a future meeting. Current events have created a foundation for such a meeting in King’s Landing. However, it will certainly not be the pleasure-filled reunion either character envisioned. Most likely is a scene in which Tyene pleads with Bronn to help as he silently refuses, his instincts for self-preservation taking precedence over the life debt he owes and feelings he harbors for her.

Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 3 “The Queen’s Justice” airs Sunday, June 30th at 9 PM on .

Will Bronn face Tyene Sand in King’s Landing and help her? Share your prediction in the comments section below!

Image Credit: HBO

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Arya Stark Steals The Show In ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 Premiere

Arya Stark Steals The Show In ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 Premiere

Warning: Game of Thrones Season 7 spoilers ahead.

The Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere “Dragonstone” delivered fantastic moments all around but saved the best for Arya Stark. After spending most of Seasons 5 and 6 locked in a storyline that frustrated many fans, Arya finally gets the scenes she deserve that convey both her cunning nature and her humanity.

That Awkward Moment When You Didn’t Kill All The Starks

Ever since the Red Wedding the Freys have patted themselves on the back for murdering and betraying the Starks. Their triumph made them more careless than ever as they lost Riverrun to the Blackfish and needed Jaime and the Lannister army to reclaim the castle in Season 6. Even after re-seizing Riverrun, the carelessness continued as Arya used her skills gained in Braavos to enact revenge against Walder Frey in the Season 6 finale.

Arya kills Walder Frey. [Credit: HBO]
Arya kills Walder Frey. [Credit: HBO]
Season 7 opens perfectly with Arya fulfilling her revenge against all the Freys. David Bradley brilliantly balances a Walder Frey convincing enough for his kin but with enough subtle differences that the audience knows it’s Arya wearing his face. Her words drive home just how messed up it is that the Freys continue to congratulate themselves because they “butchered a woman pregnant with her babe” and “cut the throat of a mother of five” and “slaughtered your guests after inviting them into your home.” Just like when she’s killed others on her list such as Polliver, Meryn Trant, and Walder Frey, Arya makes sure all the Freys know why they’re dying and who is killing them. In their final moments the Freys come face to face with the height of their heinous crimes and the fatal price of their careless arrogance.

The smirk on Arya’s face as she strolls past the array of lethally poisoned Freys is reminiscent of Sansa’s smirk after leaving Ramsay to his starving hounds, reminding audiences again of why Sansa and Arya need to reunite. Arya’s revenge is not only just but she also has enough humanity to spare Walder Frey’s latest wife and the serving women. She recognizes the futility of killing women who took no part in executing the Red Wedding, especially when the wife is a victim of the very people she hates. It also doesn’t hurt that they’ll spread the word about what happens when you mess with the Starks.

There’s Still Humanity In Westeros

Arya continued to steal the show beyond her epic Red Wedding revenge in a later scene where she encounters a small group of Lannister soldiers featuring a cameo from Ed Sheeran. While the opening scene displayed her cunning nature with a dash of humanity, this scene swapped the roles of those defining characteristics. Encountering a group of enemy soldiers near the Twins is not an unfamiliar situation for Arya. The very same thing happened in the Season 3 finale, only it was a small group of Frey soldiers shortly after the Red Wedding. Arya killed her first man back then and needed the Hound to finish off the rest. Coming off her single-handed mass poisoning of all important Freys, killing this group of Lannister soldiers didn’t seem like too difficult a feat.

What happens in this scene is way better than another bout of vengeful of murder, though. Arya’s humanity surfaces as the soldiers show their humanity. They offer her food and personally brewed drink and even give her the first bite since she’s their guest. One soldier shares his mother’s advice about being kind to strangers and expresses concern for his father while another smiles while talking about his wife having a baby. It’s a far cry from the Frey soldiers mocking the way Catelyn Stark sounded as she died.

Game of Thrones reminds us that while highborn individuals fight for the Iron Throne and the Army of the Dead looms closer, there are still plenty of everyday people in Westeros. Most of these individuals aren’t like the self-serving, sadistic schemers we’re used to seeing. They’re just normal folk with common fears and desires who happen to serve in an army that’s been considered the enemy since Season 1.

Maisie Williams carries the scene, her eyes expressing just a hint of surprise that these Lannister soldiers are such compassionate and normal people. She can’t help but smile and laugh, connecting with these soldiers and their everyday worries and desires. They unknowingly bring forth her humanity at a time when she needs it most, a time in which she can become completely consumed by her vengeance, no matter how justified it may be. With Arya’s life in recent years mostly revolving around Jaqen H’ghar and the Waif beating her into becoming “No One” and crossing enemies off her list, this scene is the first positive human interaction Arya has had in a long time. She even allays the soldiers’ mild suspicions with the unbelievable truth and more laughter.

What’s Next For Arya?

It seems like Arya is headed south to kill Cersei and the Mountain, thereby completing her list. This taking precedence over reuniting with her siblings at Winterfell is a bit disappointing. Nevertheless, the road to King’s Landing and the enemies that await her there will certainly prove fascinating. Arya traveling to King’s Landing with the same group of Lannister soldiers she met in this episode would be particularly fascinating. They could grow fond and protective of Arya, unaware of her identity. Unfortunately this is unlikely to happen as those soldiers were sent to the Riverlands in the first place to keep the peace in the wake of Arya’s violent actions at the Twins. More importantly it’s unlikely Ed Sheeran is going to transcend a cameo role and become a recurring character. Poised for a direwolf reunion in the preview for next week’s episode and her most formidable enemies yet awaiting in King’s Landing, Arya’s story will continue to be a highlight of Season 7.

What predictions do you have for Arya as Season 7 continues?

 

Image Credit: HBO

Sisters And Survivors: Why The Sansa-Arya Stark Reunion Is Pivotal To Season 7

Sisters And Survivors: Why The Sansa-Arya Stark Reunion Is Pivotal To Season 7

Sansa and Arya Stark hated each other growing up. Both were manifestations of what they each dreading becoming. With Sansa at Winterfell and Arya likely headed there as well, they are now poised for a highly likely and pivotal reunion, hinted at in the season 7 trailers:

Much has changed since Arya and Sansa last saw each other. Both have been thrust into a multitude of horrific and hopeless situations, yet they’ve not only survived. They’ve emerged stronger than ever before, Sansa as a politician and Arya as an assassin. There will now be newfound respect, appreciation, and love leading to fruitful action between these two sisters and survivors.

Arya Can Bridge The Tension Between Sansa And Jon

The reunion between Jon Snow and Sansa Stark and what followed was incredible and fascinating to behold. After years of suffering and torment, for the first time since season 1, Jon and Sansa had finally reconnected with family and used that bond to move forward. Love and compassion was there, but trust only existed to a certain degree. Tension built as the season progressed, particularly as Jon refused to listen to Sansa’s warnings about Ramsay or alter his plan to take back Winterfell. Furthermore, without Sansa contacting Littlefinger to bring the knights of the Vale, Ramsay and his allies would still hold Winterfell. Yet Jon is the one anointed King in the North while Sansa receives little real power or even credit. Jon and Sansa made their peace after retaking Winterfell but Jon’s ascension to King in the North and Littlefinger’s manipulations are already tearing at that peace.

Unlike Sansa, Arya was actually close with Jon in the days of growing up at Winterfell, bonded by their outcast statuses (Arya being a feisty tomboy rather than the polite lady she was supposed to be and Jon as a bastard). Jon is the one who had Needle forged for Arya in the first place.

Capitalizing on the foundation of their relationship forged as children, Arya can bridge the tension between Sansa and Jon, helping both siblings learn to trust and support each other. Regardless of Jon’s true parentage, they are all family, raised by Ned and Catelyn Stark, now the leaders of House Stark and the North.

Arya Will See Through Littlefinger

There’s no shortage of complicated relationships in Game of Thrones, one of which is the Sansa-Littlefinger relationship. Sansa finally stood up to Littlefinger in a powerful, important scene that for the first time in the show explicitly spoke to the effects of sexual assault and the post-psychology of survivors.

However, this was not the end of their relationship. Thanks to the Vale army needed to defeat Ramsay and his allies at Winterfell and the ensuing alliance that formed between the North and the Vale, Littlefinger and Sansa are once again around each other. Their relationship has changed but there’s too much history and understanding between them to negate the relationship. Sansa knows what Littlefinger really is but also knows he can help fulfill her ambitions. In the season 6 finale and in the trailers for the upcoming season he speaks to her unparalleled survival and her right to rule the North. This will likely lead Sansa to trust Littlefinger more than she should.

Through her own identity but also through the skills she acquired from studying others as “No One,” Arya will see right through Littlefinger. At the very least Arya can remember the last time she saw Littlefinger he was meeting with Tywin Lannister, helping the Lannisters forge an alliance with the Tyrells to defeat not only Stannis Baratheon but more importantly Robb Stark and the North.

Once Sansa can forsake all trust to Littlefinger, she can work with Arya to defeat Littlefinger for good. Using her political finesse, Sansa can distract and seduce Littlefinger with plans to seemingly actualize his dream of sitting on the Iron Throne with Sansa at his side. Meanwhile, Sansa and Arya can work to wrestle away Littlefinger’s influence, taking his army and power from him, and eventually eliminating him for good. Eliminating Littlefinger will test everything they have but Sansa needs Arya in order to make it happen.

Sansa Can Help Arya Kill Cersei

Cersei is one of the few individuals remaining on Arya’s list. For many reasons Cersei is more difficult to kill than the other individuals (Walder Frey, Meryn Trant, Polliver, etc.) Arya knows of Cersei’s crimes against her family but she doesn’t really know or understand the way Cersei operates.

Sansa does. During her years of captivity in King’s Landing and specifically in the Red Keep, Sansa spent ample time around Cersei, watched her rise and fall all the way to Joffrey’s death. Whether it’s her passion for drinking wine, her boundless cruelty only capered by her children (all of whom are dead now), or how she uses her sexuality as a weapon, Sansa truly knows Cersei.

Arya cannot navigate King’s Landing and the Red Keep and successfully kill Cersei without Sansa’s knowledge, insights, or experience of the Queen, the city, and the castle. With all the time she lived in the Red Keep, Sansa may even be able to help Arya find a way to kill the Mountain.

Women Are The Real Power And Future Of Westeros

From Robert Baratheon to Tommen and the men featured in the War of Five Kings, kings have been dying left and right. Now Queen Cersei sits on the Iron Throne and Queen Daenerys lands at Dragonstone with an unparalleled array of forces. Other women like Brienne of Tarth, Yara Greyjoy, Olenna Tyrell, and Ellaria Sand currently operate in impressive positions as well.

Men have failed to rule Westeros and navigate the future. The women are the real power and future of Westeros now but it doesn’t stop with the likes of Cersei and Daenerys. Together, an indomitable politician and assassin duo, Sansa and Arya can play integral roles in ruling the North and creating a future for Westeros despite the myriad threats.

What will be the most pivotal effects of an Arya-Sansa reunion in season 7?

Daenerys As The Mad Queen: A Brilliant Or Problematic Potential Plot Twist?

Daenerys As The Mad Queen: A Brilliant Or Problematic Potential Plot Twist?

***Spoiler warning!

Game of Thrones thrives on manipulating and deconstructing fantasy tropes. This is partly what makes the story arc of Daenerys Targaryen so fascinating to analyze. Daenerys is one of the only characters whose arc has followed a common fantasy trope of the unordinary character who has nothing becoming a powerful, benevolent figure. In this trope the character becomes so powerful to the point of being indestructible and always finding a way to succeed.

One theory that will ultimately deconstruct this trope is for Daenerys to become the Mad Queen. She will descend into total madness and become a ruthless dictator. Many have proposed this theory. Check out YouTube user The Last Harpy’s video to further understand this theory through an excellent choice of clips.

Brilliant!

Daenerys has been a fan-favorite from the beginning. We may not always agree with her decisions but we’ve always rooted for her and reveled in her triumphs. Thus, Daenerys descending into madness and becoming a psychotic dictator would brilliantly deconstruct the trope. It would make audiences reevaluate everything, wondering how they got behind this terrible person. This would be a more long-term and mind-blowing version of what we experienced towards the end of season 5 and all throughout season 6 with Cersei Lannister. Despite the atrocities she committed and influenced, we started to feel bad for Cersei and even rooted for her as the High Sparrow seized control of King’s Landing and her only remaining child Tommen. When Cersei crafted and executed a plan that murdered all her opponents in King’s Landing, we wondered how we possibly could have rooted for this woman calmly sipping wine as she watches her foes explode in a magnificent blast of wildfire. Now imagine a similar turn of events on the scale of our beloved Daenerys.

The plot twist would furthermore be brilliant because Daenerys has almost always sought to do the right thing and help others. She’s freed countless slaves, liberated a few cities by ending slavery in those locations, outlawed barbaric practices such as the fighting pits. Moreover, she constantly provides voice to her subjects and advisors. Yet it seems like these triumphs rarely last and the more permanent triumphs result from violent domination. She seems to thrive at conquering as opposed to ruling. We’ve seen this more and more, and it leads to thought-provoking questions about what happens when you attempt to rule through empathy, idealism, and humane intentions. In short, the savior becomes the villain.

Problematic

Game of Thrones constantly contradicts itself when it comes to feminism. Within a misogynist society where all individuals are expected to live within constrained social and gender roles, we’ve seen many incredible, complex women shatter these roles and become the most formidable figures in their universe. Cersei Lannister sits on the Iron Throne. Daenerys commands three dragons and the most impressive array of forces in existence. Brienne of Tarth is arguably the best warrior in Westeros and Arya Stark is one of the most dangerous assassins in all the lands. Olenna Tyrell and Ellaria Sand command their respective kingdoms. Many of the Ironborn refute Euron Greyjoy’s leadership and follow Yara instead. Most importantly, these characters are not just depicted as cunning and accomplished. Their vulnerabilities, human desires like love, and values are just as integral to their character development and depictions.

On the other hand, the show far too often portrays rape in a disgustingly casual manner or only to further the development of a male character. For example, Ramsay raping Sansa ended up being too much about Theon’s call to action in order to shed his Reek identity and reclaim agency by choosing to help Sansa. Jaime raping Cersei next to Joffrey’s corpse ends up not serving practically no purpose. Sure, there’s continued enmity between the incestuous siblings for a few more episodes but the show keeps making the enmity about Joffrey’s death and Tyrion’s fate based on the events of the Purple Wedding. The story even places an emphasis on continuing to redeem Jaime even though he’s a rapist.

Such problematic approaches would only increase with the Mad Queen twist in which one of the most powerful and complex female characters is ultimately defined by her psychotic nature. It is dangerous to show that one of your most iconic, beloved, empathetic characters, a survivor of sexual assault, one of the most powerful and charming women in the story, ends up becoming the primary human villain in the story. Why turn her into her father when she’s already so much more? Why rob her of nuanced character development only to see her become the latest tyrant?

What do you think? Would Daenerys becoming the Mad Queen plot twist be more brilliant or problematic?

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Game of Thrones season 7 trailer: 5 Major Takeaways

Game of Thrones season 7 trailer: 5 Major Takeaways

Watch the official Game of Thrones season 7 trailer before reading my 5 major takeaways!

1. Littlefinger and Jon Snow clash: Defeating Ramsay Bolton and his allies at Winterfell would not have been possible without Littlefinger and the forces he brought from the Vale. But despite this and the alliance forged between the North and the Vale at the end of the season, Jon Snow has plenty of reason to hate Littlefinger. The problem is that Sansa has told Jon precious little about Littlefinger, most importantly the role he played in the torment she experienced because of Ramsay. Neither Sansa nor Jon know how integral Littlefinger was to the War of Five Kings and the extensive suffering and death it caused the Starks and their allies. It appears Jon will learn at least a piece of these matters as he slams Littlefinger against a wall in the crypts of Winterfell. Or is this the moment where Littlefinger reveals Jon’s parentage and the newly anointed King in the North lashes out at the truth? Above all, how can a ruthless manipulator and the archetypal hero (arguably the only honorable character left in the story) find a way to work together, particularly considering Littlefinger’s crimes against Jon’s family?

2. Unsullied vs. Lannister army: Queen Cersei and Queen Daenerys are two of the major players left in the game of thrones. Season 6 left them in positions of prime power but left audiences unsure of when they would face each other for the first time. The first meeting of Cersei and Daenerys is unclear, but the trailer features numerous shots of the Unsullied battling the Lannister army. This epic battle will likely determine the futures of Cersei and Daenerys and their attempts to maintain or seize control of the Iron Throne. We may even see our first glimpse of Casterly Rock through this battle.

3. Robert Baratheon’s fear has come true:

There’s been plenty of war since this scene, but more specifically we now see the hordes of Dothraki that Robert feared rampaging across Westeros. What Ned Stark claimed impossible has come to pass thanks to Daenerys, though neither Ned nor Robert foresaw the giant dragon flying above the Dothraki army.

4. Daenerys and her allies will not be at sea long: Season 7 appears to waste no time getting Daenerys and her allies to Westeros. In addition to the numerous shots of the Unsullied battling the Lannister army and the Dothraki, there are several shots of Daenerys at Dragonstone. I’m glad Daenerys, Tyrion, and the rest of these characters won’t be stuck at sea long, isolated from the core events. This will help the story keep a swift pace and I look forward to seeing how Daenerys handles the treacherous Euron Greyjoy. Among the allies of Daenerys it’s also worth noting that romance appears to be blooming between Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand and blooms further for Grey Worm and Missandei.

5. Where is Arya headed? We see a couple shots of Arya with a horse out in the bitterly cold woods. This makes it look like she’s headed North where she could reunite with Jon and Sansa, and perhaps even her direwolf Nymeria along the way. But since winter has come, it’s plausible that these bitterly cold woods are farther south and she’s headed to King’s Landing to kill Cersei and the Mountain, the final individuals on her list.

This trailer did an excellent job showcasing shots of the new season and briefly reacquainting us with many of our favorite characters without spoiling anything essential. Some key characters like Bran, Varys, Olenna Tyrell, and the Hound were conspicuously absent from the trailer but I’m confident all will play prominent roles when the season airs. The story moves ever closer to the final battle not only for the Iron Throne, but for human existence against the threat of the White Walkers. We are less than two months away from the premiere of season 7!

What other takeaways do you have from watching this trailer? What are you looking forward to most in season 7? Comment below!

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Game of Thrones “The Winds of Winter” 6×10 Review

Game of Thrones “The Winds of Winter” 6×10 Review

Game of Thrones “The Winds of Winter” 6×10 Review

There is no way I can do the Game of Thrones season 6 finale “The Winds of Winter” justice in a single review. Far too many significant events brimming with emotional charge occurred. To spare you a thesis paper, I leave you with the following thoughts:

While much has changed in 6 seasons of Game of Thrones, “The Winds of Winter” demonstrates that at its essence the show hasn’t changed that much. The ending of season 6 has so many fascinating parallels to the ending of season 1. A ruthless Lannister with nothing to tether their sanity sits on the Iron Throne (Joffrey in season 1, Cersei in season 6). A Stark child is named King in the North (Robb Stark in season 1, Jon Snow in season 6). Jon’s still a Stark in my opinion for so many reasons, but more on that later. Furthermore, the season ends with an incredibly powerful and triumphant moment for Daenerys.

The players and their positions have changed dramatically over 6 seasons, but the game is still the same, and most of the players and families are still playing by the same rules, guided by the same values.

Cersei is far savvier than Joffrey when it comes to politics and understanding how people operate. Joffrey could never have pulled off the devastating yet brilliant plan Cersei executed in this episode, eliminating all her known enemies. While Joffrey did whatever his spoiled and psychopathic mind wanted, there were individuals like Tyrion and Tywin who could generally prevent him from going too far. No one, not even Jaime, can fulfill that role where Cersei is concerned. Game of Thrones brilliantly made us root for Cersei, one of the show’s most despicable characters, in the conflict against the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant. By the time we realized how wrong we were to ever support this woman regardless of her opponent, the Great Sept of Baelor and majority of characters we knew in King’s Landing were incinerated or stabbed to death (a specially reserved intimately violent and disturbing ending for Grand Maester Pycelle). It’s difficult to process that all these characters are gone, particularly Margaery who’s been a major player in the game of thrones since season 2, so cunning yet so compassionate. At least she realized what was happening and tried to escape. She and Loras might’ve even made it out alive if not for the High Sparrow’s hubris.

And Tommen, one of the most manipulated and conflicted yet innocent characters, has tragically committed suicide. Cersei has no one to blame but herself where the death of her last child is concerned.

Examining further parallels, Jon is far more similar to Robb than Cersei is to Joffrey. However, there is one facet of being King in the North that Robb failed at where Jon will succeed. Jon will keep the North unified by staying in the North. While Robb turned out to be a brilliant military strategist and constantly defeated the Lannister army on the battlefield, he lost control of the North. In the absence of many Northern lords, ladies and the bulk of their armies, the ironborn invaded and Ramsay Bolton began his reign of terror. Like Robb, Jon lives honorably and bravely, sometimes to the point of naiveté. But Jon has already succeeded in unifying the North in a way we haven’t since season 2. And with the White Walkers and Night King coming, Jon definitely won’t be marching any armies South. The King in the North will stay and defend the North.

Among the many satisfying events in this episode is confirmation of the R+L=J theory (thanks, Bran). While it’s rewarding to finally have the mystery of Jon’s parentage confirmed, it doesn’t really change anything about Jon’s character for me. His values and identity are still the same values instilled by his Stark upbringing and Stark family. From growing up at Winterfell, to his time at the Wall and beyond the Wall as a brother and later Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, to his resurrection and journey to retake Winterfell and the North with Sansa at his side, Jon is very much so a man of the North. His biological mother is still a Stark, and the man who raised him and arguably shaped Jon more than anyone is still Ned Stark himself. The truth about Jon’s parentage will definitely create conflict, and it’ll probably be Littlefinger who will sow said conflict.

It’s satisfying to know what Littlefinger’s ultimate motives are, even if they aren’t at all surprising. Sansa has matured and toughened herself to an incredible extent, asserting herself as a true player in the game of thrones. However, Littlefinger still unfortunately has a hold on her and will do his utmost to turn her against Jon. I understand that while Sansa is happy to see the Northern lords and ladies declare Jon King in the North, she is irritated about not getting the respect and recognition she deserves for the integral role she played in defeating Ramsay and his army, and taking back Winterfell and the North.  But with the main threat in the North now being the White Walkers and wights, Jon Snow is definitely the best person to be in charge. And with Jon being as honorable as he is, I am confident that he will trust, respect and listen to Sansa moving forward more than he ever has before.

Meanwhile, Jon’s Aunt Daenerys (isn’t that weird to think about?!) has come so far from the young woman who emerged unscathed with three baby dragons from Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre at the end of season 1. She’s learned what it takes and what it means to be both a conqueror and a ruler. She’s surrounded herself with the individuals and forces she needs to succeed. Even though we’ve been rooting for her since season 1 and she’s allied with characters we love like Tyrion and Varys and Missandei and now Olenna Tyrell, it’s still kind of terrifying to witness the depth of her armed forces when united. Now the burning question is whether she will be seen more as a savior or invader when she lands in Westeros.

Ultimately, this episode is largely about payoff for longtime Game of Thrones fans. Which of the following events and revelations did you find most satisfying and why? Be sure to comment your answer on this blog post or on social media.

  • Cersei blowing up the Great Sept of Baelor and all her known enemies
  • Qyburn’s little birds killing Grand Maester Pycelle
  • Cersei Lannister becoming Queen of Westeros
  • Winter has come.
  • The conversation between Jon and Sansa atop the ramparts of Winterfell
  • Davos facing Melisandre concerning the truth about Shireen
  • Littlefinger finally admitting his true motives to Sansa
  • Bran discovering Jon’s parentage through his visions
  • Jon Snow becoming King in the North (Lyanna Mormont is a boss)
  • Sam and Gilly reaching the Citadel
  • Olenna Tyrell putting the Sand Snakes in their place
  • Daenerys naming Tyrion her Hand
  • Arya assassinating Walder Frey (Red Wedding revenge!)
  • Daenerys and her vast array of forces setting sail for Westeros