The survivors at Winterfell cremate those their dead: Jorah Mormont, Lyanna Mormont, Beric Dondarrion, Dolorous Edd, and Theon among many others. The survivors light funeral pyres and the scene is supposed to represent the massive causalities.
As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I almost never criticize HBO. They did me a great kindness having me on the Season 5 DVD. But dare I say it? I kind of feel a tiny bit like HBO squandered an opportunity here.
They should have shown some of the battle’s massive carnage and corpses. This is the whole point of GRRM’s series: the tragedy of war.
I realize the average viewer would pick dragons and FX over corpses but not showing the corpses kind of betrays the show’s spiritual legacy.
After the survivors light the funeral pyres, Jon & co. retreat to the great hall at Winterfell to feast, grieve, and commiserate. Gradually, the mood turns to rejoicing. During the celebration, Dany notices how much Jon’s people love him and becomes insecure again. Never for one moment is the crown out of her mind.
Dany also looks a bit crazy at one point. Weren’t you just bracing for a “Burn them all!” moment?
Feeling left out and perhaps looking for the lime light – in perhaps her stupidest move yet — Dany legitimizes Gendry. Are you really looking for more rivals Daenerys? Really?
Later on, Jaime and Brienne finally get together.
Dany and Jon argue over whether Jon should swear not to reveal his true identity to Sansa and Arya. Dany argues the truth will destroy them. (Translation: If she doesn’t get “what is mine,” it will destroy their romance. Daenerys is giving lessons on putting your partner first after the series is over.)
It’s business as usual now that the army of the living has defeated the Night King. Dany wants to march down to King’s Landing as soon as possible and attack King’s Landing.
But wait a second — didn’t your men just fight the Army of the Dead yesterday? Like the biggest battle in the history of the world? Don’t cha think your army’s just a wee bit tired?
Sansa urges Daenerys to hold off on leaving so the armies can rest up. Dany won’t hear of it.
Instead, the dragon queen talks of freeing the Westerosi from tyranny and invokes “serving her destiny.” She rejects Jon and Tyrion’s wise and humane alternate plan to create a naval blockade and starve out King’s Landing, which they believe would cause the small folk to revolt and oust Cersei.
Arya and Sansa pull Jon aside for a chat after the war council breaks up: they aren’t buying anything Daenerys is selling.
Jon finally reveals his true identity to Sansa and Arya. He swears them to secrecy first.
The Next Day
Both Arya and the Hound happen to leave Winterfell at the same time the next morning. Both of them need to take care of unfinished business, regardless of the cost. It’s kind of nice to see them together again: the Hound is almost like a surrogate father to Arya in an inky sort of way.
Tyrion says goodbye to Sansa. She fears Jon won’t make it back alive: her family “doesn’t do well in the capital.” (No kidding!) Then Tyrion gives Sansa exactly the excuse she needs to reveal Jon’s identity.
Jon embraces Tormund and wishes him well. He asks Tormund to take Ghost north with him.
Jon says goodbye to Sam and Gilly. They both acknowledge their friendship. It’s sweet. It’s touching. Gilly is pregnant; she will name the baby after Jon if it’s a boy.
Then Jon says goodbye to Ghost and this is where the whole thing falls apart for me. Jon doesn’t pat Ghost. He doesn’t hug him. He doesn’t cry. Nothing. Nada. The white and fuzzy one deserves wa-ay better than this. He lost an ear in the Battle of Winterfell for Pete’s sake. I mean seriously? Who wrote that scene? Ob-v-iou-sly a cat lover…
Or maybe the PITA factor of having to shoot the wolf scenes in Calgary made them think “good riddance.”
More interestingly to those of you who aren’t dog lovers, what happens now that Jon is separated from his spiritual doppelgänger? Will he lose his way? Can he survive without Ghost?
The direwolves have a mystical connection to the Starks. As Jon said way back in Season 1 when they found the pups, they were meant to be with them.
The Armada at Last?
I have been waiting for several seasons to see a Spanish Armada-type fight near King’s Landing. Was this it? Maybe.
Euron Greyjoy surprises Dany’s ships in a cove in the Narrow Sea on the way down to King’s Landing.
Each vessel Euron Greyjoy’s Iron Fleet is now fully equipped with Scorpions – the giant crossbows Qyburn created last season – but this time they work!
Euron shoots one of the giant bolts at the Rhaegal, Dany’s second last dragon. After one of the bolts pierces Rhaegal’s neck, Rhaegal tumbles from the sky.
Cersei tells Euron that the babe in her belly is his. He’s thrilled and rejoicing.
Varys and Tyrion Debate Whether They Should Oust Daenerys
Dany has now clearly lost her way and even her councilors are turning against her.
It’s making me queasy that the only one who consistently serves the realm – Varys – is openly sharing his treasonous thoughts. In Henry VIII’s court, this would cost him his head.
Varys and Tyrion debate Dany and Jon’s merits. Jon is clearly the one they want on the throne, even though Tyrion is loyal enough to feel squeamish about betraying his boss.
It’s pretty clear what Varys will do. He’s going to support the claimant he believes is best for the little people. Somebody’s got to.
Tyrion fears for what will come of Dany if Varys throws his support behind Jon.
Jaime Leaves Brienne to Go to Cersei
His mission isn’t clear, but Brienne assumes he is going to protect the evil queen.
The Parley: Mano a Mano
Daenerys and her tiny sea battered force meet with Cersei’s army outside of the city walls to demand Cersei’s surrender and Missandei’s return. The two hands – Tyrion and Qyburn – meet to talk terms. Neither side is willing to budge.
Daenerys loves Missandei – she’s her best friend – but the dragon queen won’t surrender to Cersei to save Missandei’s life. Dany can’t. If she did, Cersei would kill Dany and her men in a heartbeat.
Cersei has the advantage – she’s behind the city walls – why should she surrender?
Tyrion tries to play on Cersei’s love for her children to get her to surrender. Furious, Cersei responds by ordering the Mountain to slice off Missandei’s head.
Missandei’s last words are for vengeance: “Dracarys!” She tells Dany to make King’s Landing burn. Just what we needed…
- Sansa broke an oath. Will the consequences for this be as extreme as Game of Thrones karma has dished out to other oathbreakers?
- What will Euron do if he finds out that Cersei’s baby isn’t really his?
- How is it that Dany is so arrogant that she legitimized a rival claimant to the throne?
- Without Missandei and Rhaegal, will Dany turn into her father the Mad King?