This is five star entertainment that continues to improve and impress.
Winter has arrived along with plenty of SPOILERS below.
This season followed the trend of a great penultimate episode spectacle that then concentrates on character development for the final episode. Somehow this episode without the epic battle is just as jaw dropping.
The longest ever episode needs this running time that flies by as so much happens. The opening Kings Landing sequence maybe the best thing the series has ever done.
The real hero of the episode is the music creating an unbeatable tension and a driving momentum. This is especially effective as a prophecy fulfilling Cersei (Lena Headey) wipes out half the cast list.
Pycelle (Julian Glover) is furst on Cersei’s death list then Lancel as he fails to prevent the wildfire devastation to Margaery (Natalie Dormer), Loras (Finn Jones) and the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pyrce). This destruction of the high sept is delayed long enough to see broken Loras succumb to the high sparrow and be branded in a brutal close up further enhanced by the pace of the music.
This is a disappointing end to the future of the Tyrell house especially Margery as although she sees it coming she does not have a concealed trick underneath her sleeve, she proves to be nowhere near as efficient at scheming as the ruthless Cersei.
Cersei’s heartless approach is cemented as she lays her final child to rest in unceremonious fashion. The music and single shot as Tommen commits suicide is an expertly crafted cinematic scene as he walks off frame to then reappear and calmly walk out the window. So many deaths in such a short space of time even for this show.
Again the music reaches a defining crescendo as Cersei is proclaimed Queen fulfilling her prophecy under the watchful eye of her brother Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). I think the redeemed Kingslayer who has transformed into a fan favourite may find himself at odds with the new monarch in the next season.
Before this Jamie is seen demeaning the despicable Frey (David Bradley) with a brief appearance from the entertaining Bronn (Jerome Flynn). The music suggests every scene to carry such weight in that there was almost a reverse red wedding brewing but Walder Frey’s eventual demise is much more fitting.
Walder Frey is another name ticked of Arya’s (Maisie Williams) list is violent fashion as she utilises her newly acquired assassination skills back in Westeros. That is 2 episodes in a row the show has a allowed a deserving character to get their overdue comeuppance- we are truly being spoilt. I was hoping to see Arya return to Winterfell but her triumphant dispatching of Frey was a great season close for the character.
For me the most dramatic character showdown was the popular and ever honourable Ser Davos (Liam Cunnigham) driven to tears as he confronts the red woman (Carice Van Houten) over the burning of Stannis’s daughter Shereen. The onion knight’s emotional confrontation is long overdue as his relationship with the young girl was executed perfectly in previous seasons so the emotional heft of this scene was chilling.
The sombre Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) allows the red woman to leave but promises her retribution if she is ever seen in the north again. Jon Snow is allowed a lighter moment with Sansa (Sophie Turner) as their father’s glum prophecy is confirmed as winter has officially arrived.
But thanks to Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) fitting into the role of the three eyed-raven it is finally all but confirmed Jon Snow is a Targarygen and the son of Ned’s sister. In probably the best bit of acting in the episode a baby manages to capture the middle distance stare of Jon Snow as the scene seamlessly swaps onto the grown up Jon Snow holding a meeting with all the Lords of The North. This scene is again stolen by the young leader of house Mormont who rallies the North to sensibly proclaim Jon Snow King in the North.
In a quieter moment Littlefinger finally reveals his dream of sitting on the Iron Throne to Sansa and he looks on with caution as Jon is recognised as King in the North; I am sure this tentative relationship will take some interesting turns in the future series.
The brief scene of Sam (John Bradley) arriving in the library of Oldtown provides the episodes light relief as he exclaims ‘life is a bit irregular’ to a grumpy maester. This lighter touch fits well within the episode highlighting how well the series deals with tonal shifts as it quickly returns to big scenes of seismic development
So now to Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) who again ends the series on a big moment of spectacle as she is finally sailing for Westeros after 6 seasons of building to her destiny and the music is fittingly triumphant. Firstly she must leave behind her loyal lover on the advice of her newly named hand of the queen Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage). A lovely moment for the fan favourite who has finally found his place and sense of belief.
The only possible gripe I have with the episode is standing behind Daenerys on her ship, after a brief acknowledgement of the Greyjoys, is Varys (Conelth Hill) who was in Dorne earlier in the episode scheming with Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) and the sandsnakes. Varys must have borrowed Littelfinger’s jetpack to move around this fictional land so quickly. Hopefully the sand snakes might actually do something exciting in the next season as well.
The closing landscape of the fleet moving towards Westeros under the shadow of the three dragons is an exciting prospect as the Game of Thrones chessboard has been well and truly been reset.
This has been an amazing season that has excelled moving beyond the books and learnt from previous mistakes. This is undoubtedly the best thing on TV and an emotionally gruelling spectacle.