In the Game of Game of Thrones, patience is a virtue, faith is a virtue, and Faith gets burned in the green flames of wildfire. I've been only passingly aware of the trades that have gone down in The Verge's GOGOT league this year, but I do know that Cersei Lannister has not exactly been the hottest commodity. Placed in what has more or less been house arrest for the past nine weeks, with a bad haircut and nobody to snipe at, this year had not seen our queen mother at her best. Some had started to predict her death. And then she went and made 380 points in a single episode.
Some perspective: in last year's Game of Game of Thrones, season winner Bryan Bishop scored 448 points. This year, our champion Loren (Team Maester of None) has 696 points. Does that mean that Season 6 was objectively better than Season 5? I'd like to think so! Season 5 dragged in a way I don't feel like this year did; its general unpleasantness vastly outpaced its substance. There was plenty of death in Season 6, but they were largely ancillary characters, offed less for the shock value than to clear the board. There was a sense of build toward some major event running through even the quieter episodes. Whether that major event was just another dragon shot or a world-changing power shift would remain to be seen.
So many events
Well, this week we got it ... them. All the events. The fact that the widely-predicted wildfire death of approximately 200 characters took place with 45 minutes still left on the clock was the first tipoff that this would be no ordinary Thrones finale. But that opening sequence sure was something, wasn't it? It started with a classic "getting ready to go to trial" montage, with a twist: Cersei Lannister, in a cool new military-goth look (+25,) totally isn't going to her trial! Neither is Tommen Baratheon! Loras Tyrell, meanwhile, goes by the book, confesses his sins, converts to the Faith (+15) and abandons his lordship (-25.) He does not get to go free, though, until Cersei's trial is over, which, well, bummer. Meanwhile Qyburn's little birds spookily run around lighting the fuse for the bombing of the sept. First they prison-shiv Maester Pycelle (+20 to Qyburn) then they lead Lancel Lannister into a dark tunnel, stab him, and put him in the torturous position of being spitting distance from stopping the bombing. He does not, it turns out, stop the bombing.
A quick explanation on scoring, since this whole affair is such a fiery doozy: Cersei and Qyburn are splitting the points from the Wildfire attack, which is broken down thusly:
- Margaery Tyrell: 45 points
- The High Sparrow: 45 points
- Loras Tyrell: 35 points
- Lancel Lannister: 35 points
- Mace Tyrell: 30 points
In addition, each make +50 for redshirt kills, as there were plenty of those. In total, Qyburn and Cersei each pick up 145 points for the wildfire bombing of the Sept of Baelor.
But hey, we're not all about cold, hard numbers here at the Game of Game of Thrones. We're about cultural analysis and emotional truths, and the emotional truth of this situation is that losing Margaery blows, especially right before what looks to be a killer matriarchy in the seven kingdoms (plus Jon Snow.) In hindsight, though, Margaery's wily, smily soft power could be seen as obsolete in a world potentially run by women with very high body counts. Still, she'll be missed — the pride of Highgarden and one of the best and smartest players the Game ever saw. Shame about her final outfit.
@jowrotethis do you think Margaery is bummed that she went out while wearing a turtleneck?— Laura Lape (@Laura_Lape) June 27, 2016
Cersei goes straight from her bombing observation deck to wineboarding Septa Unella, and "confessing" in a speech that was surely cathartic for all the psychotic Lannister stans out there. ("I fuck my brother because it feels good to feel him inside me." To each her own, +10.) Then she sends The Mountain in to continue what I'm going to politely and charitably assume is just more regular non-rape torture. We also get to see his gross face, which is not eligible for points but still notable.
Never one for particularly good child rearing, Cersei leaves Tommen on his own to process the death of his wife and hundreds of his subjects. Tommen's way of processing it is to kill himself. It's all very Greek in its tragic irony. Cersei hardly seems surprised, perhaps because she now realizes she's just stumbling her way through Maggy the witch's script. Or is it because she's been possessed by the ghost of her firstborn? Her hair and her outfit are 100% Joffrey.
+15 to Sam for acquiring a library card
Pacing would be key for the longest episode in Game of Thrones history, so after all this excitement we were kindly given a Samwell Tarly and Gilly interlude during which to check our Tweets, Vines, and LinkedIns. They made it to Old Town! Which is full of sexist intellectuals (OK, one sexist intellectual) but that's better that than the usual violent sexists. The sexist intellectual is mad that his records are out of date due to irregularity chaos up north, and Sam points out that "life is irregular" (+5) which tells me he has a bright future ahead of him as a hit rom com screenwriter. The maesters give Sam access to their archive, and though I don't have a scoring item for acquiring a library card, it gives Sam such pure joy that I'll throw him +15. (No points for Gilly or baby Sam, whose domestic softness just wouldn't fly during Big Boy Library Time.)
when you're sorry 4 the patriarchy but not too sorry pic.twitter.com/Pe2XP04nT8— Emily Yoshida (@emilyyoshida) June 27, 2016
In Winterfell, Jon Snow has had all of five minutes to catch his breath after the battle when he has his first dispute to resolve as temporary Lord of Winterfell: Davos Seaworth vs. Melisandre of Asshai. You see, Davos has just now realized that Melisandre was behind Shireen's death. I don't know about y'all, but I had forgotten that he was still in the dark about all that. Poor Davos. But also — poor Melisandre! Her relationship with Jon has gone from creepy/predatory to dare I say nice, way more normal than hers and Stannis' was. She even feels comfortable telling him to check his privilege after he whines about having to sit in the back of the banquet hall during feasts (he talks about it as if it's still the deepest injustice he's ever faced, which, ugh, c'mon, Jon.) Isn't that so typical — you think you've got a nice platonic thing going with a guy and then he ditches you the second he suspects you of child murder.
Off Melisandre goes! Where will she head to? Who will she resurrect next? Maybe any of the thousands who died needlessly in the Battle of the Bastards before the Knights of the Vale showed up? Sansa Stark has a chat with Jon, where she's like "whoops, should have told you about my giant army!" True. She also gets to declare that "Winter is here" (+10) which is nice and Stark-y. Speaking of that; both Jon and Littlefinger seem convinced that she is the obvious Lady of Winterfell and warden of the North, given Jon's tainted lineage. That's Baelish's line of reasoning, anyway, when he puts the creepster moves on Sansa hardcore — "I'll declare for you!" Quelle romantique! Sansa replies "You've declared for other houses, Lord Baelish; that's never stopped you from serving yourself." (+15) She's feeling pretty sassy and classy and ready to take over, until all of the Northern houses declare Jon King in the North (+50). Sansa gives Littlefinger a Look. OK, one date, but afterwards you have to promise to take me to this networking event for upwardly mobile noblewomen.
That networking event, unfortunately for Sansa, is already going down in Dorne, where Olenna Tyrell, rocking the second severe goth look of the evening (+10) has escaped to following the murder of her family. After dressing down all three Sand Snakes (+9 for telling Obara Sand she looks like an "angry little boy," +6 for telling Nymeria Sand "Do shut up, dear," and +12 for telling Tyene Sand to "Let the grown women speak.") she and Ellaria Sand form an alliance with Varys, who shows up and utters the Targaryen house words "Blood and Fire" (+10) to let us know we have a Tyrell-Martell-Greyjoy-Targaryen alliance to look forward to next year (+25 to Ellaria and Olenna.) Cool! Fun! I like it!
The Targaryen corner of that triangle is still getting ready to shove off from Meereen, but first Daenerys Targaryen must let go of some excess baggage. Daario Naharis has all sorts of lovely ideas with how they could redecorate Casterly Rock once they lay siege to it, but Dany knows it's time for them to part ways. (-25 to Daario.) "But I love you and I make you happy!" Daario points out. "Cool story," says Dany. It's still an amicable split, and Daario even bows to her after it's finalized, which, #breakupgoals.
Only later does Daenerys admit to Tyrion Lannister that she loved Daario too, which is weird, but sad for her, I guess. She is bumming hard, and Tyrion consoles her by saying it was a very savvy political move on her part. He then has a very sweet moment where he tells her how he hadn't believed in anything until he met her (+10) which is the best Tyrion moment all season, because it's completely free of the internet-baiting drunk humor he's been mucking around in this year. Daenerys names him Hand of the Queen. (+25)
In hindsight, I think the lesson of the Tyrion Mishandles Meereen plot — easily the worst plot of Season 6 — is that political savvy alone isn't enough to win hearts and minds. You have to have WMDs, or, uh "dragons", and inspire near-religious fear in your constituents. This is not comforting at all!
Bran Stark and Meera Reed get dropped off by Benjen Stark somewhere near the wall, and Bran finds the nearest tree to touch for Vision Time (+20.) And he sees ... he sees ... a match cut between Lyanna Stark's baby and Jon Snow? What does it mean? I don't like when TV shows try to play coy, just tell us what we already know — Jon Snow is having a baby!
Maester: (peering at ultrasound) This is most irregular!
Jon Snow: (to camera) I suppose ... life is irregular!
At The Twins, Walder Frey is celebrating "his" "army" "taking back" Riverrun, a premise that Jaime Lannister takes issue with. "They don't fear the Freys, they fear the Lannisters," Jaime points out. "Why do we need you?" (+12 burn.) It turns out we don't need Walder at all: while he waits in the dark for his 17th dinner course, the serving wench reveals herself to be Arya Stark, and the kidney pie reveals itself to be Frey Pie. (+40 for killing Black Walder and Lothar.) Arya cuts Walder's throat (+40) and she's finally back to making some progress on that list of hers. She's stoked, clearly.
Queen Cersei cosplaying her dead son is the most terrifying
Jaime rides back to King's Landing just in time to catch the smoldering remains of the sept and the coronation of his sister as the once-again queen. OK, she really looks like Joffrey now. Cersei is the first character to win the +200 "Take the Iron Throne" score in the two seasons we've done this madness, but even before then, she feels the first character to truly take it, rather than have it given to her. In the entire GOT timeline, Robert Baratheon was probably the last king to truly take it. Queen Cersei is terrifying; Queen Cersei cosplaying as her dead son is even more terrifying; Queen Cersei bereft of the last of her humanizing children is the most terrifying thing of all. Daenerys has her work cut out for her.
But here comes Daenerys anyway! And Tyrion, and Missandei, and Yara, and Theon, and DRAGONS! Most significantly, here comes Varys, who wins a special SMDH score of +25 for his apparent ability to teleport. There used to be a score last season in this game for crossing the Narrow Sea, but since it's become rather commonplace since then, I took it out of the game. However, this is a big moment — the biggest moment in the series thus far — and I think all our key players on Team Targaryen deserve some points to recognize that bigness. So all the characters listed above get +50, except for Varys, who was only traveling by ship and not teleporter so as to seem more Relatable.
We're all winners here (lol jk)
And that's it! That's the end of the sixth season of Game of Thrones! Everything you ever wanted is happening! Turbo Cersei is coming! The matriarchy is coming! Match cuts between Jon Snow and some random baby are HERE! Killer Arya is HERE! It almost feels cheap to be given so much in a single episode, and yet, how often does that happen? How much more are we left making some kind of incoherent whiny sound at our TVs as the credits roll and tweeting our nitpicks? Let's take this W, because we're all W-ers.
Well, not all of us.
The Verge's league rankings:
- Loren Grush: 696 (Season top scorer: Ramsay Bolton, 265)
- Bryan Bishop: 660 (Season top scorer: Cersei Lannister, 395)
- Kwame Opam: 637 (Season top scorer: Jon Snow, 303)
- Andy Hawkins: 531 (Season top scorer: Bran Stark, 190)
- Kaitlyn Tiffany: 500 (Season top scorer: Sansa Stark, 205)
- Liz Lopatto: 491 (Season top scorer: Qyburn, 215)
- Michael Zelenko: 380 (Season top scorers: Arya Stark, 220)
- Ross Miller: 355 (Season top scorer: Wun Wun, 110)
- T.C. Sottek: 220 (Season top scorer: Dragons, 150)
- Jamieson Cox: 205 (Season top scorer: Jaime Lannister, 125)
CONGRATULATIONS LOREN GRUSH FOR CRUSHING YOUR ENEMIES! CERSEI LANNISTER WOULD BE PROUD!
This season's top scoring characters:
- Cersei Lannister, 395
- Jon Snow, 303
- Ramsay Bolton, 265
- Daenerys Targaryen, 255
- Arya Stark, 220
- Qyburn, 215
- Sansa Stark, 205
- Bran Stark, 190
- Dragons, 150
- Olenna Tyrell, 147
For the full list of updated stats visit The Game of Game of Thrones on Fantasizr.
And for one final treat before we close the book on another thrilling season ... yeah, I made that Getting Ready to Go Out montage.