Here’s everything you need to know about the latest memorable season of Game of Thrones
Well, we’ve come to the end of another season of Game of Thrones, which means another year of impatient waiting and speculating.
They’re already talking about delaying next year’s series, so it could be an even longer wait than usual. We’ve hit a pretty definitive point in the series with no cliff-hanger for us to focus on, so where does that leave things?
As the first season to move past the books, season 6 was definitely something different. The pacing of the show seemed to pick up and storylines didn’t wrap up as neatly or as logically as we’d previously come to expect. Characters were able to travel between destinations with a lot more speed and the timings of the various storylines were not always in sync.
In many ways, this season was about getting us ready for the big endgame of the show. Various characters were brought together and alliances were made to bring the featured storylines to a head. There are still a few outlier stories – such as what’s going on with Arya, Bran, The Hound and Sam – but even they don’t feel far off from joining the main action.
In the end, there seemed to be three major story-lines that shaped the season and each one started off a bit murky before converging into a very definitive ending.
So let’s now look at all three of them, how they got to where they are, where things have ended and what they may be heading towards.
Jon Snow and Sansa Stark retake Winterfell
This was probably the biggest storyline of the season and featured some heavy and dramatic moments. After answering the big cliff-hanger of Season 5 (will Jon Snow stay dead?) in a somewhat predictable manner, we saw Jon execute his betrayers before dramatically walking out on the Night’s Watch. Sansa is rescued by Brienne and manages to get to the Wall just in time to be reunited with Jon in a truly heart-warming moment. Then it was off to start gathering an army to take down the wicked Ramsay Bolton and reclaim Winterfell.
Along the way they gather some interesting and entertaining allies (Sir Davos, Melisandre, Tormund and the wildlings, Lady Lyanna Mormont and the warriors of Bear island), but not a big enough army. That doesn’t stop them from trying to take down the Boltons and their allies anyway. After cruelly witnessing Rickon’s death by Ramsay’s hand, they fall right into their enemies trap and all look lost until Petyr Baelish and the Knights of the Vale turn up to save the day.
Sansa has Ramsay eaten to death by his own dogs and Jon is unexpectedly declared the new King of the North. An unusually happy ending, but what now? Do they turn their attention to the Lannisters in the south or the Whitewalkers in the north? And what about the incoming invading armies led by Danaerys? Let’s not forget that the most dangerous man in Westeros, Petyr Baelish, is still in town and isn’t thrilled with how Sansa turned him down.
It’s possible that the Starks are best served by re-establishing their base of power at Winterfell and dealing with whatever enemy reaches them first. We already have had two Starks reunited and it’s possible that the other two will be joining up with them soon. Bran and Arya should make them a lot more formidable. The revelation of Jon Snow’s actual parentage should also serve to spice things up. Let’s just hope that banishing Melisandre to the South doesn’t come back to bite them.
Cersei blows up King’s Landing and ends up as the Queen
All season long, things seemed to continually get worse for Cersei. After hitting her low point at the end of Season 5 (being forced to walk naked through King’s Landing and having ‘Shame’ yelled at her repeatedly), Cersei was reunited with the resurrected Mountain and seemed ready to take back power from the High Sparrow. Instead, she starts off the season with news that her daughter has been poisoned and is now dead.
Her first plot to seize back power by teaming up with the Tyrells ends abysmally when her son, King Tommen, turns against her and joins forces with the High Sparrow.
Jaime is sent away and she becomes more isolated than ever before. To make matters worse, Tommen bans the use of the Trial by Combat, ensuring that she has no way out of her upcoming trial. When the whole world’s against you and you’ve run out of options, what do you do? Burn it to the ground!
In the spectacular finale of the season, Cersei manages to knock off over half the known characters left in King’s Landing by igniting the secret stock of Wildfire hidden underneath the city.
Tommen can’t bear the thought of what his mother has done and jumps to his death out of a window. What’s the reward for killing so many people? Cersei is crowned Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
With all her immediate threats removed and no more children left alive to keep her grounded, what’s left for Cersei to do now?
She might want to start off by trying to sort things out with her brother/lover Jaime, who didn’t look too impressed when he arrived back at King’s Landing. She might not know, but her enemies (The Tyrells and The Martells) have united with the biggest threat to her throne, Danaerys, and are on the way to overthrow her. She also has the small issue of the Northern kingdom seceding from her rule.
So many problems, so little time.
Cersei might be more ruthless than we’ve ever seen her but her rule doesn’t seem destined to last long. Her best hope may be depending on whether the Whitewalkers arrive in time to distract everyone from how much they hate her and the Lannisters.
Danaerys’ army gets even bigger and she’s finally on her way to Westeros
This has been building since the very start of the show and is probably only in competition with the Whitewalkers for ‘Longest wait for them to arrive’ stakes.
Danaerys starts the season off having been kidnapped by the Dothraki horde, and it seems like this is just another ploy to delay her inevitable arrival in Westeros.
After a few scenes where everyone laughs in her face at her claims to greatness and seemingly about to meet a miserly fate, she manages to have the last laugh by having herself and all the ruling Khals burnt to the ground (sound familiar? Burning your enemies solves everything!), only to emerge stark naked and unhurt.
The Dothraki decide to reward having all their leaders murdered by embracing Danaerys as their new chief in command (I wonder if I burnt Parliament House to the ground and murdered all our leaders if they would make me King of Australia). And so it’s time to head back to Mereen with her new army.
Meanwhile, in Mereen, Tyrion is doing his best to juggle the demands of running the city, which includes making compromised peace deals with enemies and interacting with allies with no personality. After seemingly having everything under control, his plans backfire when the Masters decide to attack the city anyway. Luckily, Danaerys turns up in time to save the day by unleashing the Dothraki and her three angry dragons.
It’s now alliance making time as she finally decides that she will leave and head to Westeros.
After securing her first alliance with Yara and Theon Greyjoy, she decides to ditch her lover, Daario, whilst also benefiting from Varys’ alliance building with the Martells and the Tyrells. The last we see of them, their combined armies are sailing together towards Westeros and preparing for one hell of an invasion.
Danaery’s long anticipated arrival in the Seven Kingdoms will likely be the major storyline in Season 7 and it will be fascinating to see how she goes about her invasion.
Will she head straight to King’s Landing to do battle with the Lannisters or will she continue building her army by getting involved with the King of the North? Now that Danaerys is single, many are speculating on a marriage between her and Jon Snow, even though she is technically his auntie. No worries, the Targaryen’s have a long history of incest so it’s all good!
The Whitewalkers are going to have to arrive at some point and it should be interesting to see how far into Danaerys’ invasion this will be. It’s possible that our three big power players will all have to team up together to take down this ancient threat. There’s also speculation of another secret Targaryen, with most people suspecting it’s Tyrion, as we will need to have a third dragon rider.
Overall, Season 6 was another memorable Game of Thrones season, punctuated by incredible highs (Hodor’s insane revelation, Big battles at Winterfell and Mereen, Cersei blowing everything up, the Hound is back!) and some bizarre lows (Arya’s storyline conclusion, the siege of Riverrun, some awkwardly written dialogue). It will most likely be remembered as the season where things finally started turning around for our heroes.
We’re all set for the final 2 seasons and hopefully the conclusion will live up to the build-up we’ve seen so far.