David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, creators of HBO’s George RR Martin novel-based series Game of Thrones, opened their final episode with a bang and provided enough shocking twists, bloody score-settling and power plays in a series record long 69-minutes to hold their own against last week’s seemingly unbeatable “Battle of the Bastards”.
Last night, the field vying to rule the Seven Kingdoms got smaller; the raised-from-the-dead Snow’s birthright was revealed, and new alliances were forged, with the icy Night King and his undead horde serving as the looming doomsday menace.
Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) surprised fans, ‘It’s truly its own unique moment to tie up what’s been a unique storyline about what’s happened in King’s Landing over the course of season 6. I thought it was an inspired choice. And it’s really interesting that I am given a moment of some vindication at the very end, which was the perfect way for Margaery to leave the show. She’s given a platform to say that she was right, as she always is. But because the power was taken from her, she couldn’t do anything about it.’
Talk about saving the best until last. This season may at times have been patchy – the dialogue has certainly lacked the subtlety of earlier years – but the Winds of Winter aka Game of Thrones: The Ultimate Vengeance Edition was a heart-stopping conclusion heavy in blood, revenge and death in which scores were settled, new alliances formed, old fan theories confirmed and the stage set for what promises to be the mother of all clashes between Dany, the Queen of Dragons, and Cersei, the queen of ashes and dust.
“A Song of Ice and Fire” is built on subverting expectations, and though that’s a great way to start a story, it’s a difficult model to build an ending on.
Last night’s finale, “The Winds of Winter,” was an especially good example of this phenomenon; there appear to have been multiple plot points that were executed to maximize spectacle. On one hand, some grand things did occur: Cersei (Lena Headey) was crowned queen, Arya (Maisie Williams) killed Walder Frey (David Bradley), and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) finally set sail for Westeros. The score, composed as usual by Ramin Djawadi, was unusually creative and dominant, accompanying long, dramatically lit montages that were framed and cut with loving perfection.
But on the other hand, the mechanics of nearly every plot twist made little to no sense. Cersei’s wildfire was remarkably controlled for such an unpredictable weapon.
Dany’s close adviser Varys (Conleth Hill) demonstrated a surprising ability to teleport, appearing in both Dorne and on a ship with his queen in nearly back-to-back scenes.
Arya, who was in Bravoos for two nearly interminable seasons, suddenly shows up back in in Westeros with an apparently long-secret pie-making and person-butchering ability.
The HBO fantasy series is reportedly increasing the salaries of its lead stars Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister).
The negotiations do not guarantee that all five actors’ characters will survive through the end of the series.
At the end of the sixth season, “Game of Thrones” have aired 60 hours over six seasons. This could mean the final seasons will each have less episodes than normal.