“Thrones” finale, Part I: Wildfire


“He had caches of Wildfire, hidden under the Red Keep. The Guildhalls, the Sept of Baelor. … He would have burned every one of his citizens. … That’s why Jaime killed him.”

Tyrion’s brief history lesson in “Battle of the Bastards” foreshadowed an epic first half hour of the Game of Thrones  season six finale. It was the thread that connected episode eight “No One” — the rumor Cersei had Maester Qyburn investigate — to episode 10 “Winds of Winter” when Cersei executed a plan to erase the High Septon and his followers with what Daenerys’ father, the Mad King Aerys had left underneath the Sept of Baelor years ago.

I didn’t think anything could pique my interest in King’s Landing again after this season’s plainly boring storyline about the spineless king and queen aligning the crown with the Faith of the Seven. I thought last week’s climactic Stark vs. Bolton heavyweight fight would be the height of the season in the way “Hardhome” kind of was for season five. But this finale actually made “Battle of the Bastards” look like a sub-par episode, one with high tension but poorly executed.

“Winds of Winter” was a blockbuster, the first half hour so beautiful  with one hell of a spine-tingling musical score to enhance the buildup to the trials of Loras Tyrell and Cersei.

The question all along: How is Cersei going to get out of this, especially after Tommen outlawed trials by combat? At first, when The Mountain showed up in Tommen’s room, my impression was that he was there to kill him, and then Cersei, pouring a glass of wine, was about to poison herself. In the meantime, we follow Lancel Lannister as he chases one of the Little Birds underneath the Sept. There, he’s stabbed and left to die in the cave where the Mad King stashed Wildfire.

It all clicked. This was the rumor Maester Qyburn investigated, and so it became Cersei’s plan to regain power. It’s perfectly, really, because Cersei doesn’t stray from what she values — her family. She isn’t having Tommen killed; she’s, in fact, protecting him by keeping him contained in his room, as far away from the Sept as possible.

Vulture asked the question a few weeks ago: How should Tommen die? After watching the fireworks, he walks right out of his bedroom window and kills himself — a suitable fate for a pretty pathetic, spineless King. (At least Joffrey did things).

The sad thing is a) Margaery wasn’t actually two-timing the faith with a plan I hoped she had and b) that she had to die. Although she chose a disappointing path this season, she was at least heady enough to know something was up when neither Cersei nor Tommen had shown up at the trials yet. She may not have gotten far enough away from the Sept in time to find safety, but the sparrows kept her and everyone else from leaving when she demanded it.

Finally, Cersei’s encounter with Septa Unella is just fantastic. It may be Cersei’s greatest scene ever. She’s such a psychopath. Unella’s death, although inevitable, will be a drawn-out torture by “your new God,” The Mountain. As Cersei leaves, she repeats, “Shame… Shame… Shame.”

I cheered the whole damn thing.


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