We’ve already reached the last year list of 2016: the 30 best episodes of 2016. First, I want to thank the users of the IMdB-board ‘Game of Thrones’ and the Redditors of r/GameofThrones. The results this year were surprising, to say the least. Let’s not wait any longer and count down the very best thirty episodes.
A throwback to last year’s top 5:
5. The Rains of Castamere
4. The Children
3. The Winds of Winter
1. Battle of the Bastards
Director: Mark Mylod
‘The Broken Man’ contains a lot of memorable moments. Sandor Clegane returns as a broken man, trying to find a greater meaning behind his survival. Yet, he learns that killing is necessarily in this cruel world but that he can use his fighting skills for better purposes. That’s why he decides to join the Brotherhood later on season 6. We also have some great dialogues in the Broken Man. Do you recall Olenna and Cersei’s final confrontation? The acting was superb there. We’ve also had this touching scene where Olenna has to say goodbye to her granddaughter, Margaery. I admit, the two parting ways was very emotional. Septon Ray is another great character who was introduced in the Broken Man. His dialogues were strong and well-acted.Another great return in the Broken Man: The Blackfish. It was a great idea to bring this legendary warrior back into the story. Unfortunately, he didn’t last too long but he had some great last scenes, though. Good to see a resolution to his arc. In the Broken Man, we also meet Lyanna Mormont who later turns out to become a big fan-favourite. The cinematography was very beautiful in this episode too (e.g: Jaime’s close-up when he’s waiting for the Blackfish or Theon and Yara’s close up when they decide to leave Theon’s past behind. Beautifully done!) One thing I didn’t really like in The Broken Man was The Waif stabbing Arya. The scene was unnecessary and only served to increase the show’s shock value. For the rest, it deserves to end at #30 and to gain 8 spots in our list.
The Hound’s long-awaited return in ‘The Broken Man’. (HBO)
Director: Brian Kirk
As the Tournament of the Hand of the King continues, we find out more about the suspicious death of Jon Arryn. Not only we have a kind of Cleganebowl, but we also meet House Tyrell by the introduction of ser Loras Tyrell. The build-up in this episode is excellent. We feel that a war between the Lannisters and the Starks is about to start, which causes the first casualties: Jory Cassel. The bloody confrontation between Ned Stark and Jaime Lannister was tense and a great ending to a great episode. Besides, we are also introduced to the Vale and its crazy residents. It’s also the moment where you start to really feel for Tyrion’s character. In the Wolf and the Lion, we also get a well-written dialogue between Cersei and Jaime about their wedding. One big theatre that causes the Seven Kingdoms to stay together for more than seventeen years. The Wolf and the Lion is another excellent episode, filled with well-written dialogues and decent action scenes. Unfortunately, The Wolf and the Lion loses 8 spots this year.
Ned Stark and Barristan Selmy talk about their opposition in the past. (HBO)
Director: Alik Sakharov
Tyrion sealed his fate by choosing for a trial by combat. He receives three visitors the day(s) after his trial. His brother, Jaime, who would want to fight for Tyrion but admits that he could never win because of his lost sword hand. Another visitor is Bronn, Tyrion’s ‘best’ friend. Yet, Bronn chooses for gold instead of honor which fits his characters perfectly. Help comes from a strange corner in life. Oberyn visits Tyrion at night to tell Tyrion about his lust for revenge after the Lannisters killed his sister he loved so much. He decides to fight for Tyrion in order to seek his long-awaited revenge on the Mountain. The backstory, the acting, the raw emotions… Everything is great in the scene between Oberyn and Tyrion and has become as one of Game of Thrones best scenes. This slower episode contains a huge amount of dialogues: Arya and the Hound, Melisandre and Selyse, Daenerys and Daario, Daenerys and Jorah, Brienne and Hot Pie, .. I understand why a lot of people think of ‘Mockingbird’ as a boring episode but the quality of dialogue is incredible here. I loved the backstory of the Hound when Arya wants to treat his wound. The episode ends with a major death: Lysa Arryn is pushed through the Moon Door by Petyr. Petyr Baelish shows again how far he’d go to achieve his goals. We didn’t cry for Lysa but the acting in those scenes was perfect. Great episode! ‘Mockingbird’ gains 15 (!!) places on our list.
Oberyn emotionally tells Tyrion why he’s longing for vengeance. (HBO)
Director: Daniel Sackheim
‘The Book of the Stranger’ is an emotional rollercoaster, for sure. We start with the reunion between Sansa Stark and Jon Snow. We’ve waited for this since many years and the payoff was great. I’m sure many people have shed a tear there. Sansa and Jon also share their first conversation. The first seeds of the war between the Starks and the Boltons is planted in the Book of the Stranger. Sansa convinces Jon to fight the Boltons and to take their home. Yet, Ramsay influence even increases now that he’s got Rickon Stark. This episode also marks the return of Theon to Pyke. Yara witnesses how much Theon’s character has changed and the confrontation is hard. Another ‘Reek’ emerges in the form of Loras Tyrell’s character. We see how strong sister’s love can be this episode. Not only when it comes to Sansa and Jon or Theon and Yara, but also to Margaery and Loras. Margaery tries to make Loras believe in himself, but fails nonetheless. The ending was not everyone’s cup of tea. Many grew tired of Daenerys’s ‘epic’ scenes where she’s portrayed as a god but I think this could mark the beginning of Daenerys’s madness. She took a lot of pleasure in burning the khals and thought of herself as a goddess. We also lose one of our great characters: Osha. To be honest, her arc was very disappointing last season. It was still a pity to lose her. ‘The Book of the Stranger’ ends at #27 and loses quite some spots (14!). I am still happy it made the top 30, though.
The first Stark children to reunite after the War of the Five Kings.
Director: Alik Sakharov
‘The Climb’ is a great episode which contains a good balance between action scenes and dialogue. The Climb can be viewed as a metaphor. Jon Snow, Ygritte, Tormund and the other Wildlings literally climb the Wall. On the other hand, Littlefinger explains his strategy to Varys. He likes to cause chaos in order to gain influence. He sees is it as an opportunity to climb the ladder even though the risk exist that he could fall off the ladder. The dialogue between him and Varys can also be considered as one of the very best scenes of Game of Thrones. The climbing of the Wall itself contains a lot of beautiful scenes (esp. the ending when Ygritte and Jon are standing on top of the Wall). Theon’s physical and mental torture continues. The plotline in King’s Landing is more intriguing than ever now that the Tyrells try to climb the ladder as well. For them, it ends badly. Tywin Lannister found out about their plan and puts a plan on the table to prevent it at all cost. Sansa didn’t take the opportunity to climb the ladder (she didn’t go with LF) and stays behind. Heartbroken. Arya meets the Red Woman, Melisandre in an interesting scene. The show also uses a fascinating way to foreshadow future plotlines (Arya meeting Melisandre again / Arya killing lots of people). ‘The Climb’ is a very decent episode and manages to climb 3 spots on our list.
Littlefinger reveals his strategies to Varys.
Director: Daniel Minahan
‘You Win or You Die’ starts with an incredible dialogue between Tywin Lannister and his son Jaime. It’s always entertaining to see the first scene of a great character again and Charles Dance does a great job portraying him. It’s a great addition to have him among the cast. Ned Stark confronts Cersei Lannister, another awesome dialogue, where the legendary phrase comes from: ‘When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.’ We realized how ruthless Cersei can be right there. A dark tone starts to take over this episode. We feel that things are going very wrong. Certainly after Robert Baratheon’s death. A pity to lose him so soon in the show. ‘You Win or You Die’ has a lot of other great moments: Jon finding out he becomes a steward not a ranger and later say his vows together with Sam, Khal Drogo’s speech about invading Westeros and of course Joffrey’s declaration as King of the Seven Kingdoms. It’s right here where I really became invested in the show. The pace, the perfect balance between action and storytelling and the written quality was incredible in this episode. Good that it still makes the best 25.
Jon is disappointed with the results. I hope you are not.
Director: D.B Weiss
‘Two Swords’ had my favorite opening scene of all episodes! The forging of ‘Ice’ was an excellent opener to an equally excellent fourth season. It marked the fall of House Stark and victory of House Lannister (if the Red Wedding wasn’t heartbreaking enough, though). The aftermath of the RW is still very present in ‘Two Swords’. Sansa still has difficulties to put everything in perspective, while Jon remembers Robb. This episode also introduced the wonderful character ‘Oberyn Martell’. His introduction fitted his character so well: swift and as dangerous as a viper. Oberyn immediately stole all of our hearts. The best moment in Two Swords involved Arya and the Hound. Arya meets Polliver once again and seizes the opportunity to take Needle back and to seek revenge for Lommy. She manages to fulfill her wishes and crosses off another name off her list. The first episode was excellent and the best season premiere to date. The episode climbs 2 spots this year!
The Hound wants some chicken!
Director: David Nutter
Theon’s evil side starts to show in ‘The Old Gods and the New’. The start is very powerful, with Theon beheading ser Rodrik Cassel. The acting in this scene is amazing: props to Hempstead-Wright and Allen. Jon meets Ygritte is an iconic moment on the show and will become one of Jon main’s storylines throughout the tv-series. The riot in King’s Landing provides the needed suspense and shock to a slower second season. Arya and Tywin’s conversation is another well-written scene in the sixth episode. The overall pace and plot development is one of the episode’s main strengths. Theon’s evolution has become more intense and interesting than ever. The notorious ending where Daenerys shouted in agony for her dragons wasn’t loved by anyone, though. ‘The Old Gods and the New’ loses five spots this year.
‘Where are my dragons’?
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Jon Snow starts his voyage to Hardhome, while Maester Aemon watch ended for good. ‘The Gift’ is a very darkish episode in my opinion. Sansa’s situation is depressing. We see how Sansa begs Theon to help her and when we think she’s finally about to be helped, we misplaced our trust in Theon. We are back at square one. Aemon’s death was a both heartwarming and sad scene. Stannis’s situation looks depressing as well. Melisandre tries to make Stannis sure that the Lord of Light needs Shireen so they can win the war in return. Olenna’s trying everything she can to get her grandchildren out of prison. Her conversation with the High Sparrow didn’t go as planned so she seeks a last resort: allying with Littlefinger. The conversation between those two is great (esp. the acting). Cersei finally gets what she deserves in ‘The Gift’. Her plan backfires and the Lion Queen herself ends up in prison. We happily watch her being thrown into prison but it’s also frightening to see how much influence the High Sparrow is gaining. ‘The Gift’ also marks the meeting between Daenerys and Tyrion! Something we’ve been wanting to see for a long time. ‘The Gift’ may be a slower episode, the written quality is almost back at the level of previous seasons.
Serves you right, Cersei!
Director: Alan Taylor
Tyrion wakes up after almost being killed at the Battle of Blackwater. His face is scarred for good. Stannis suffered a great defeat and has retreated to Dragonstone where he’s consumed by Melisandre’s vision. ‘Valar Morghulis’ serves as an excellent build-up to the third season: the marriage proposal of Margaery Tyrell, Brienne’s quest with Jaime, Robb’s marriage with Talisa. All of this will have a bigger meaning in the third season. Most arcs have a decent resolution: Arya escaping Harrenhal and meeting Jaqen once again, Bran and Rickon escaping Winterfell after it is burnt down, Theon’s rise and fall, Daenerys prophetic dream. Those are all memorable scenes so the episode didn’t bore us for one second. The last scene was terrifying and quite a dark ending to the second season. The second half of the second season was quite strong and it ended on a high note. Too bad ‘Valar Morghulis’ lost 5 places this year.
I am Hers and he’s Mine.
THE BEST 20 EPISODES
Director: Alex Graves
‘Kissed By Fire’ is one of my personal favorite episodes and I’m glad to see the episode climbing on our list. The episode starts with a great fight between Beric and the Hound. Beric is later brought back to life by Thoros (which paralleled nicely with Jon’s reanimation (mind the soundtrack during the fight and the ending of ‘Home’). Jon and Ygritte finally took a big step in their relationship. Qyburn proves Jaime that he’s an excellent Maester and removes his hand with ‘pleasure’. There’s a heartwarming scene between Arya and Gendry. Robb has a chilling scene where he beheads Lord Karstark. The acting, soundtrack and sphere are absolutely stellar here! We are introduced to the family Baratheon of Dragonstone. We meet the sweet Shireen who immediately becomes one of the nicest characters in Thrones. Jaime has a beautifully written and acted (!) dialogue with Brienne about the murder of the Mad King. Tywin puts his plan forward to end the Tyrell marriage plans before it can come true. ‘Kissed By Fire’ is another excellent Thrones episode with very well-written dialogues (Jaime / Tywin and his children) and great memorable scenes (Thoros vs. the Hound / beheading of Lord Karstark). Five spaces up this year!
Jaime bares his heart to Brienne.
Director: Daniel Minahan
Daenerys discovers that she’s the dragon’s daughter after she finds out that she’s fire-resistant. She finally steps up against her evil brother and lets Khal Drogo burn him to death. Poor Tyrion is still locked up and chooses for a trial by combat (a choice he later makes again). The fight between Bronn and ser Vardis Egen was an awesome one. Since this season, ser Bronn became very popular instantly. Ned Stark sits on the Iron Throne for a short time, which was nice to see. The choices he made are honorable but not so clever. Joffrey declares his love to Sansa but we all know this will all hit back right into Sansa’s face. Ned does a major discovery: he finds out that Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen are not Robert’s children. ‘A Golden Crown’ ends with one of the best death scenes in Game of Thrones yet: Viserys’ golden crown. Viserys seemed an interesting villain. Too bad we didn’t get to see more of him. This episode gains 3 spots on our list and enters the top 20.
Ned wakes up after being ambushed by Jaime Lannister.
Director: Alik Sakharov
‘The Laws of Gods and Men’ loses a great amount of places this year (-7). Although Peter Dinklage is giving the best of himself in this episode, the Laws of G&M possesses some flaws. Yara’s rescue plan was badly-written and too hurried. They better didn’t include it, as it made no difference to any storyline. Daenerys’s scenes were ok, although they started to drag a bit. It got really interesting when King’s Landing came into the picture. All of the scenes were amazing and Dinklage last speech was the best he has done in the show up to now. The emotions he conveyed to the small screen were one of the very best I have ever seen. Dinklage was really robbed of an Emmy that year. I’m sad to say that this episode didn’t make the top 10 this year! Hopefully next year!
Tyrion’s breakdown in ‘The Laws of Gods and Men’.
Director: Jeremy Podewsa
‘Home’ brought us a lot of memorable and iconic scenes in Game of Thrones. First and foremost, we have Jon Snow being brought back to life. A moment where we’ve secretly hoped for and assumed to come true. The scene itself was a bit predictable but it served its purpose: cheering viewers! Not only good things happen this episode, you can think of the death of Lady Bolton. Poor Walda Bolton didn’t deserve this fate at all and we didn’t see this one coming. Or at least, not so cruel. Ramsay revealed himself to be the main villain of the sixth season and was declared as Lord of Winterfell. The Greyjoys came back into the picture and we met a new member of the family: Euron Greyjoy. His introduction was quite memorable as he immediately killed his own brother, Balon. The Ironborn finally seemed to get a more extensive arc this year and it didn’t disappoint (like Dorne). The Red Woman was a bit disappointing, but things really took off with ‘Home’. It was also nice to see Bran Stark again after an absence of two years. His vision with a younger Hodor was really fascinating. Good to see Wun Wun again in action in ‘Home’. This year, ‘Home’ loses 7 spots and ends at #17.
Tyrion meets Viserion and Rhaegal.
Director: David Nutter
A big surprise right here! Although Mother’s Mercy has its flaws, there were some truly excellent moments in this episode. I think most people will agree when I tell that I didn’t like Stannis’s resolution. It was rushed and he didn’t get the resolution he deserved. Encountering Brienne seemed a cheap way to finish his storyline. Other than that, I really liked this episode. Sansa and Theon’s escape was quite engaging, even though surviving the jump seemed a bit too lazy-written. Arya’s revenge on Meryn Trant was amazing, nothing to remark about that. The Dorne’s resolution was OK, it was the only logical ending it could provide and it was foreshadowed at the beginning of season 5 that another child of Cersei would die. Afterward, I would have loved if Doran Martell worked together with Ellaria the whole time, revealing his master plan. Daenerys is captured by Dothraki. Nice to see those men again! I loved hearing their soundtrack after a long absence. Cersei’s Walk of Atonement was one of the very best scenes in Game of Thrones. The acting from Headey was sheer perfection! She made this episode together with Williams and Harington. The closing scene was the perfect ending scene to a dark and depressing season 5. Jon’s arc was one of the very best character’s arcs the show has seen.
Cersei’s Walk of Atonement
Director: David Nutter
Stannis’s camp is attacked by Ramsay Bolton and his 20 men. His army is starving and a lot of sellswords deserted him, he sees no other option than offering his daughter to R’hollor. Meanwhile, Daenerys decides to leave Meereen on Drogon’s back after the Sons of the Harpy attempt to assassinate her. The first half of the Dance of Dragons is quite slow which is weird because we usually see a more intense episode 9. Things really take off during Shireen’s death scene. Her death remains the most emotional one in the history of Game of Thrones (which means quite a lot since so many characters died). The acting of Kerry Ingram was on point, so was Dillane and Fitzgerald. Daenerys’s screentime is greatly expanded in ‘The Dance of Dragons’ and it gets really intense when the Sons of the Harpy attack Daenerys Targaryen. Drogon senses that his mother is in trouble and comes to rescue her. Her mounting Drogon is a moment where we’ve waited for since the beginning of Game of Thrones. The soundtrack that went along with that scene was very epic! ‘The Dance of Dragons’ does a good job this year and manages to climb 2 spots!
Drogon comes to the rescue!
Director: Alex Graves
‘And Now His Watch Is Ended’ keeps it precious fourteenth spot and I don’t complain. This episode is one of the more eventful episodes in a slower third season. We see Jaime breaking down step-by-step and we learn more about Varys’s backstory. The situation in beyond the Wall has taken a 360 degrees turn as the Lord Commander is shockingly killed in a mutiny by men of the Night’s Watch. Craster finally gets what he deserves, though. The scenes in King’s Landing are more interesting than ever: Margaery clutching her claws into Joffrey, Olenna and Varys’s conversation about his plan, Margaery bonding with Sansa. All of the scenes were well-written and the actors did a wonderful job. Thoros confronts the Hound and Arya is able to avenge the butcher’s boy. The greatest scene in this episode is Daenerys commanding the Unsullied army. The scene has even grown into an iconic moment throughout the series. ‘And Now His Watch Is Ended’ ends at #14.
‘A dragon is not a slave’!
Director: Tim van Patten
This iconic first episode can not miss our list, of course. ‘Winter is Coming’ got the party started. We first met House Stark: a happy family who happen to live in the cold North. We discover that there icy creatures beyond the Wall that are killing off humans. The Stark children all get a direwolf puppy and we are introduced to King’s Landing where the King and the Queen lives. Even though, nothing too great happens in the first episode (apart from Bran’s discovery) this episode is a bit nostalgic and a decent introduction to the series. We get a bit of everything in the series’ premiere: violence / nudity / .. Typical HBO-stuff but it’s a good way to introduce us to the wonderful world of Game of Thrones. ‘Winter is Coming’ impressively climbs 11 spots this year.Wow.
Daenerys meets Khal Drogo in ‘Winter is Coming’.
Director: Alex Graves
Too bad to see one of my personal favorite episodes fall so hard. ‘The Children’ gets pushed out of the top 5, ending at #12 this year. The Children is a beautiful episode. Not only the soundtrack, but also the conclusions to several character arcs. Tyrion, for example, had an amazing arc in season 4, arguably his best one throughout the series. Him killing his own father is a major development in his arc and serves as a complete change in his storyline. Arya is another character who gets a wonderful ending. She finally leaves the past behind and tries to start a new life in Braavos where she has always dreamt of. Jon says goodbye to the love of his life, Ygritte and Bran finally reaches his destiny. The episode causes a lot of major changes in the great game as the major player, Tywin Lannister, is killed off and Tyrion is on his way to support another Great House. ‘The Children’ is more of a poetical episode. A goodbye to a painful past. It ends at #12 on our list.
Tyrion and Jaime part ways.
Director: Alan Taylor
The aftermath of Ned Stark’s death is still very present in ‘Fire and Blood’, which is of course very logical given that Ned Stark was Game of Thrones’s main character. Robb and Catelyn Stark decide to not longer hide and to start an open rebellion to the crown. Poor Sansa remains in the capital and finally came to the conclusion that Joffrey is no more than an evil prick. His character is fully developed and becomes the main villain of the TV-series (during the first three seasons). Jon and Daenerys take major decisions: Jon stays within the Night’s Watch and goes on expedition beyond the Wall because he realizes that whatever lurks beyond the Wall is far bigger threat than the war against the Lannisters. Daenerys burns Drogo’s body and hatches her dragons. We first meet Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal in an breathtaking closing scene. ‘Fire and Blood’ is an emotional ending to an excellent first season. This year, the episode almost managed to make the top 10. It ends at #11.
‘Blood of my Blood’…
…2016’s TOP 10 EPISODES
Director: Alex Graves
One of the most satisfying deaths in Game of Thrones happens in this episode. ‘The Lion and the Rose’ mainly centers around Joffrey’s marriage with Margaery Tyrell. Though, we all know that a wedding without at least one death is a dull affair and so Joffrey dies. Poisoned, he dies in the arms of his mother. Never we yelled so much after this pain in the ass died. For once, we were Littlefinger very grateful. Let’s not forget Olenna Tyrell’s part in it as well. The Lannisters start to have casualties as well. Not only the wedding appears, but also Roose Bolton returns home to the Dreadfort. We meet Walda Frey, Roose’s new wife. Roose doesn’t exactly thank Ramsay for running the Dreadfort in his stead. He has to make up for Theon’s brainswashing by making sure Moat Cailin is theirs. Melisandre burns another innocent lives and Bran gets closer to his destination. This episode is all about the Purple Wedding and it didn’t disappoint. The costumes, set, acting, everything was great about King’s Landing this episode and we finally got the long-awaited death scene. ‘The Lion and The Rose’ ends at #10, losing one place.
Joffrey gets his right cake served.
Actor: Neil Marshall
‘The Watchers on the Wall’ was one epic hour in Game of Thrones, no doubt about that. The storytelling wasn’t at its best but that’s ok. The prime focus was the battle and the action scenes and those were on point. The visual effects in this episode are great as it looked more like one short action movie rather than a TV-series. Storywise, I liked Blackwater more but the fighting scenes were way better in this one. Almost everything was present in this one: a strong build-up to the war itself and a great resolution. Too bad they didn’t include Stannis’s army invasion at the end of this episode but I understand the reasons why they didn’t. We also lose our beloved cast member, Rose Leslie, as the wildling Ygritte. The Watchers on the Wall really was another rollercoaster of emotions! It ends at #9 this year.
‘We are the Watchers on the Wall!’
Director: Jack Bender
‘The Door’ provided another heartbreaking scene that no one saw coming: Hodor’s revelation. A seemingly unimportant character that surprised us all, was the sweet giant Hodor. We found out that Hodor is rather a contraction of ‘Hold the Door’, a phrase he kept repeating since Bran entered his mind in the past. Due to the trauma, he kept repeating Hodor all over again in order to save his friends from the Army of the Death. His fate was heartbreaking but the CGI that was used and the costumes were all amazing. Bran’s storyline in season 6 is at his best since he learned the ability to not only look into the past but also influence it. Besides the scenes beyond the Wall, we also got the Kingsmoot. Some people found it rather disappointing but I was ok with it. I think I expected a bit too much of Euron’s character, as I found the character to be a bit bland in ‘The Door’. Other than that, he still has the chance to evolve and we didn’t get to see him much at all. It’s still too soon to draw conclusions. Arya gets another task: she has to kill the main actress of a theater company. The woman, Lady Crane, seems rather friendly and compassionate. Arya’s slowly starting to turn against the principles of the Faceless Men. ‘The Door’ is a devasting episode which kept me open-mouthed by the end. The Ironborn seem to be more interesting than ever and it’s nice to have seen Jon leave the Night’s Watch (for good, hopefully). The Door keeps its eighth spot.
‘And he held the door.’
Director: Alex Graves
A newcomer in our top 10 is ‘The Mountain and the Viper’. Perhaps this is the best 1v1 combat I have ever seen in Game of Thrones. It was brutal and emotional at the same time. We started to care for Oberyn Martell and to see him go out in a way like that was gut-wrenching or better formulated, mind-bending. The worst death a character can receive, that’s for sure. At least, Oberyn achieved his goal and got ser Gregor confessing his crimes. Another heartbreaking scene is the exile of Jorah Mormont. Daenerys feels deep inside that there’s no one more loyal than Jorah, but if she wants to become a capable leader, she needs to punish those who betray her. The scene is sad, esp. when Jorah admits that he loves Daenerys. We also see Sansa’s character becoming darker and she’s starting to apply what Littlefinger taught her. Ramsay, on the other hand, manages to take Moat Cailin with the help from Theon and gets rewarded. He’s legitimated by Roose Bolton and father and son head to their new home: Winterfell. Yeah, it still stings! ‘The Mountain and the Viper’ isn’t the most eventful or best battle episode but the shocker at the end was well thought out and not only there for shock value. Oberyn had an amazing arc and still today, he’s regarded as one of the best GoT characters even though he only appeared in 7 episodes.
Jorah’s heart is broken.. again!
Director: Alan Taylor
Another iconic Game of Thrones episode makes a big climb on our list. ‘Baelor’ is the first true shocking episode of Thrones which revealed its cruel nature. No one would have guessed that the show dared to kill off its central character, but here we are. In ‘Baelor’ we are introduced to Lord Walder Frey, a man we would rather not meet. We also learn more about Khal Drogo’s fate and the fact that he won’t live long anymore. Daenerys’s arc becomes more interesting than ever now that she has to lead the Dothraki herself. The war between Robb and Tywin is the main storyline in Baelor and it’s a pity we never got to see the actual battle, but what comes after the battle is the true shocker and no battle could have filled that gap. The acting, the storytelling, everything about this scene gave me shivers. I remember myself to be very quiet after this episode ended. It still hurts to watch this. ‘Baelor’ ends at #6 and climbs 6 places!
‘Can you bring back a man without a head? Not six times, but once?’
Director: Neil Marshall
I am glad that ‘Blackwater’ makes it to the top 5 this year! What a great battle and way of storytelling it was! I loved the slow but imminent build-up, the careful use of CGI, the written quality of the dialogues. In my opinion, this is the best battle episode we have had in Thrones. Not because of the visual effects but of the well-written story. This war is so complex because we don’t know which side we have to root for. The outcome was so uncertain, that’s what made this episode so tense. No important character dies during this episode, but it still manages to hold a lasting impression on its viewers. The Wildfire explosion, for instance, was a great visual scene. Even better than the one we got in ‘The Winds of Winter’. I loved how there was a good balance between the actual battle scenes and the dialogues. It provided a better build-up to the ending of this wonderful battle. Blackwater ended at #5.
‘But now the rains weep o’er his hall and not a soul to hear.’
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
One of the best visuals I have ever seen during a battle on the TV-screen is, without a doubt, during Hardhome. Not only it marked the first dialogue between Daenerys and Tyrion but also introduced us to the Night King himself. We briefly saw him in ‘Oathkeeper’ but we first saw him in all of his glory, showing his powers to us. Just like Jon Snow was, we were all terrified of the ending scene where the Night King raised the wildlings from the dead. All of the scenes in Hardhome were amazing and the battle itself kept us at the edge of our seats. ‘Hardhome’ also showed us Cersei in imprisonment and how low she has sunken when she had to drink water from the ground. We still didn’t feel bad for her, though. Too bad, this visual wonder called ‘Hardhome’ doesn’t make the top three this year. Still, it ends at a beautiful 4th place.
Daenerys and Tyrion talk about their cruel fathers.
Director: David Nutter
‘The Rains of Castamere’ is the episode where everybody refers to when talking about Game of Thrones. This is how cruel the show can be. They make you care for characters for almost three seasons and you’d expect to see a good ending for them because they have suffered more than enough, and then you get this. ‘The Rains of Castamere’ is like an episode I like to rewatch soon. Not that it is bad or too cruel but because of the raw emotions Michelle Fairley and Richard Madden pulled off during the last 15 minutes of the episode. Fairley really deserved that Emmy, though. Other scenes worth mentioning are the Daenerys’s invasion of Yunkai (too bad we didn’t see a bit more of the battle, though) and Bran and Jon almost meeting each other. Bran also makes a very vital discovery when he accidently enters Hodor’s mind. ‘The Rains of Castamere’ is one of the iconic Game of Thrones episodes that SHOULD end high on the list. It’s this episode that made Game of Thrones of what it has become now.
Arghh.. It still hurts!
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Unfortunately, Battle of the Bastards lost its first position. The episode was the first battle episode with a very positive outcome! Oh, we did all sheer when Sansa and Littlefinger (yeah even Littlefinger) showed up during the battle with the knights of the Vale. The battle was stunning, given that the budget was even higher this season, the CGI was breathtaking. The battle in Meereen, for example, was wonderful to see. Daenerys flying on Drogon and setting the slaver’s fleet on fire was the best visual scene I have seen in Game of Thrones up to now. The battle was very impressive as well, something I have never encountered in any series before. Miguel Sapochnik has outdone himself in Battle of the Bastards and it’s great to see his episode end so high on our list.
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
‘The Winds of Winter’ deservingly ends at the highest position of our list this year! What a great episode it was! The storylines wrapped up and most of them had a breathtaking conclusion (e.g Bran finding out about Jon’s parentage / Cersei having her vengeance on her enemies and becoming Queen / Jon becoming King in the North / Daenerys sailing to Westeros / Arya killing Walder Frey / Sam arriving in Oldtown). We have all waited a long time to see these things play out in Game of Thrones! After having more depression season finales (e.g. Mother’s Mercy), we end with a positive note: Daenerys allying with House Tyrell, Dorne and Greyjoy and sailing to Westeros. The soundtrack used in this episode is the best the show has had up to now (e.g: Light of the Seven). The cinematography is another wonderfully executed aspect of this episode. Sapochnik did an amazing job again. We hope to see him directing one more episode before it all ends. ‘The Winds of Winter’ won this year, but I am certain that we still haven’t seen the best of Thrones yet. We shall see next year!
RIP Queen Margaery – Queen of our hearts!
Thanks for all of your votes! I hope to see you next year again.
Introduction to Arya’s main interests: ‘death‘ (e.g. from her facial expression when she saw ser Hugh of the Vale dying to killing a boy by accident) and ‘warfare‘ (e.g: she’s rather interested in developing her fighting skills than learning embroidery; then improving her fighting skills with Syrio Forel)
Shaping Arya’s character: character traits* (‘outcast‘ just like Jon, that’s why the two like each other so much; behaving like a ‘tomboy‘, strong feeling for justice (typical Stark trait) and not holding her tongue for anyone. Ned Stark’s death fueled her lust for revenge and bringing death to those who have wronged her.
Early seeds in Arya’s arc which will come to fruition later: Season 1 laid the basis for Arya’s hatred toward the Lannisters (esp. Cersei and Joffrey) for killing Ned and Nymeria and to betray their House >< Arya will somehow exact revenge on the Lannisters in S7-8; Arya saying goodbye to Jon <> Jon and Arya being reunited in S7-8; Arya and Nymeria part ways <> Arya and Nymeria are reunited in S7; Arya hating the Hound for killing the butcher’s boy <> Arya punishing The Hound for killing Mycah by bringing up evidence so his trial by combat in S3 can take place; Arya and Sansa arguing and not liking each other <> Arya and Sansa clash in S7; Ned telling Arya that the Starks need to work together if they want to survive winter <> Littlefinger playing out Arya and Sansa and later failing to do so in S7; Arya learning about Braavos <> Arya sailing to Braavos in S4; Arya seeing Syrio Forel getting killed by Meryn Trant <> Arya murdering Meryn Trant to exact revenge on SF in S5
The encounter with Syrio Forel and how it shaped her character: philosophy behind the gods and belief (‘death’ being the only true god there is) as Arya is inspired by it in later seasons.
Set up for S2: Jaqen H’ghar in the cage; meeting Gendry, Hot Pie and Lommy Greenhands; Yoren bringing her to safety
Arya’s evolution in S1: from struggling with her identity (e.g: not feeling like a lady) to being forced to lose her own identity (e.g: having to flee KL and taking on the identity of Arry)
SEASON 2: ARYA STRUGGLING WITH HER OLD IDENTITY (OPTION 1: CHOOSING FOR HER OLD IDENTITY)
Meeting Jaqen H’ghar and his lasting impression are Arya’s main developments in the second season. Arya comes in contact with Jaqen (we don’t know whether it was orchestrated or not) — Arya’s again confronted by another method of killing (which seems to fit the true nature of her character) — Arya getting acquainted with the Faceless Men
Continuing the shaping of Arya’s character: being groomed by two men with strong and sharp philosophies: Yoren (wanting to tell Arya not to become obsessed with thoughts of revenge as he was) and Tywin (furthering the oppression of her identity and become ‘no one’)
Early seeds in Arya’s arc which will come to fruition later:Yoren telling about his prayer <> Arya being influenced by Yoren’s philosophy uses her own prayer of doomed men throughout S2-S8; Arya losing Needle because Polliver stole it from her <> Arya retrieving Needle from Polliver in S4; Polliver killing Lommy Greenhands in a cruel way <> Arya mimicking Polliver’s way of killing Lommy to kill Polliver himself in S4; Arya meeting Littlefinger in Harrenhal and learns more about his traitorous nature <> Arya executing Littlefinger in S7; Jaqen H’ghar giving the coin to Arya in order to seek him in Braavos <> Arya seeking out Jaqen H’ghar in Braavos in S5
Arya’s main interest being triggered again: ‘death‘. Arya has to become ‘the god of death’ herself. In season 2, she has the power to decide over the death of multiple characters (e.g the Tickler, Amory Lorch, ..)
Another layer to Arya’s character: being extremely short-sighted (e.g.: killing three of her ‘minor’ enemies instead of ending the war immediately by ordering Jaqen to kill Tywin or Joffrey; wanting to kill Tywin in a rage without thinking about the consequences for herself)
Set up for S3: the Brotherhood Without Banners frequently being mentioned by the Tickler; Arya choosing not to travel with Jaqen H’ghar but to go to her family instead
Arya’s evolution in S2: being fueled by the opinions of strong men (Tywin, Yoren and Jaqen), she struggles with herself as she has to choose between her two identities, Arya Stark and Death (to exact revenge on her enemies [Jaqen’s offer to follow him to Braavos] or (to NOT exact revenge on her enemies and to go back to her family) [Yoren’s advice to not make the same mistake as he did]. She ultimately chooses for the latter.
SEASON 3: ARYA BEING DRAWN TO HER OTHER IDENTITY (REALIZATION THAT OPTION 1 DIDN’T WORK OUT WELL)
Arya starting her quest to find the remaining members of her family. In episode 2, the quest is being interrupted by the meeting with the Brotherhood Without Banners. She’s confronted with her past once again (reunion with the Hound). The Hound brings up Arya’s identity again (‘What in the seven hells are you doing with the Stark bitch’?).
Arya’s main quest is to go back to her family => quest in interrupted but later continued by the Brotherhood Without Banners => quest is interrupted again when the BwB decide to travel south first => Arya had enough of delaying her quest and decides to travel by herself once again => The Hound kidnaps her and decides to bring her home in exchange for ransom
Another piece of evidence of Arya’s short-sightedness and quick temper: Arya demonstrating to Thoros that she can fight but Thoros easily defeats her; Arya trying to kill the Hound with a rock while he’s asleep. Another, more humane layer of her character: ‘grief‘ and ‘empathy‘ (grief: to Thoros ‘Can you bring back a man without a head?’) (empathy: to Gendry: ‘You can be my family’)
Early seeds in Arya’s arc that come to fruition later: Arya saying goodbye to Hot Pie at the Inn <> Hot Pie being the key to linking Arya with Brienne’s storyline in S4; Arya meeting Melisandre and adds her to her prayer <> Arya will confront Melisandre once again in S7-8; Melisandre foreshadowing Arya taking on her new identity (eyes she’ll shut forever) <> Arya chooses a new path onwards S5
Arya being confronted another time with the notion of ‘death‘: Arya experiences first-hand how the Red God brings Beric Dondarrion back to life. The different views on ‘death’ remains a strong influence on Arya’s arc. This time, Arya realizes how much ‘death’ can be controlled by outside forces and later by herself. Arya learns more about the Red God.
Planted seeds from previous seasons coming to fruition now: Arya confronts the Hound of killing the butcher’s boy when they meet again in the same inn; Arya seeking revenge for the butcher’s boy; Arya loathing the Freys for what they have done to her mother and brother <> Arya assassinating Walder Frey for orchestrating the Red Wedding in S6
Another major tragic event in Arya’s life leads her further to her embracing new identity ‘death’ (e.g: the death of her brother and mother)
Another man ‘grooms’ Arya (mind parallels with Sansa’s arc). The Hound points out that Arya is way too soft and won’t survive if she doesn’t kill more easily. Arya’s appalled by the Hound’s philosophy at first.
Set up for S4: The Hound being redeemed in Arya’s arc (starting with him bringing Arya home and not to the Lannisters); Arya killing her first man on purpose and being drawn to her other identity, ‘death’.
Arya’s evolution in season 3: Arya first wants to seek out her family and by many struggles on her path, she finally reaches her destination. Being disappointed and hurt all over again, she’s becoming more drawn to her other identity, ‘death’.
SEASON 4: ARYA EMBRACING HER NEW IDENTITY (CHOOSING FOR OPTION 2)
Arya’s quest is continued, even though she is convinced it won’t work out well this time. The Hound decides to bring her to the Vale, to her aunt Lysa. On their way, they encounter Polliver. Arya first gains respect for the Hound when he helps her clearing her enemies out of her way. She’s slowly starting to understand the Hound’s philosophy behind his killing. When he talks about the backstory of his burned face, Arya starts to respect him even more. She starts to care for him (e.g treating his wounds). When the Hound and Arya arrive at their destination, Arya isn’t disappointed when she finds out that her aunt has died. Arya later encounters Brienne of Tarth who offers her the choice to travel with her as she will bring her home. She grabs the chance to escape both Brienne and The Hound as they are fighting each other. She wants to fulfill her quest on her own, as she always intended to do. Others slow down her path. Arya has fully redeemed the Hound, he’s no longer part of her prayer. She decides not to kill him but leaves him alone to die. She no longer wishes to exact revenge on him. We later learn that the Hound is still alive, due to Arya’s choice not to kill him. Arya travels to a nearby port and speaks to the captain of the ship. She first wants to travel to her half-brother, Jon Snow. The captain brings up ‘Braavos’ again and Arya decides it’s time to leave her old identity behind and to embrace her new one. With the realization that her old identity only caused her a lot of pain, she looks at Westeros for one last time and decides to move on in her life and to leave ‘Arya Stark’ behind for good.
Early seeds in Arya’s arc that come to fruition later: Arya having respect for Brienne as a warrior when they first encounter <> Brienne and Arya spar with each other in S7
Planted seeds from previous seasons that come to fruition now: Arya retrieving Needle and exacting revenge on Polliver for murdering Lommy; Arya chooses to sail to Braavos to seek out Jaqen H’ghar
Arya’s becoming more fascinated with/drawn to her other identity (g: her facial expression when she kills Polliver; telling the Hound that she likes to see Braavos one day; embracing another identity when they encounter the father and his young daughter in the Riverlands (playing the Hound’s daughter); The Hound making her realize that she needs to become a killer just like him if she wants to survive.; When she gets the chance to travel to Braavos, she no longer chooses for her family.)
Another evidence of Arya’s short-sightedness and quick temper: when the Hound is insulting Syrio Forel, Arya attacks him with Needle. The Hound responds angrily and slaps her.
Arya being confronted with ‘death‘ again. This time, she encounters a dying man. They talk about the whole notion of ‘life’ and ‘death’. Arya learns that ‘death’ can also be a gift, to release someone out of his pain.
Set up for season 5: Arya decides to start her quest alone this time. She chooses to leave her old identity, Arya Stark, behind and sails toward a new destination, Braavos.
Arya’s evolution in season 4: Being more and more drawn to her new identity, Arya takes the decision to leave old Arya behind to give her other identity a chance.
SEASON 5: ARYA’S TRAINING TO FULLY POSSESS HER NEW IDENTITY AND HER FAILING TO DO SO
Arya starts her new quest, alone this time. She has fully embraced her new identity and seeks out Jaqen H’ghar, someone from her past as ‘Arya Stark’. The Faceless Man doesn’t let her inside the House of Black and White, which frustrates Arya. Arya drops her coin in the water and decides to give up on her quest already. The Faceless Man realizes that by dropping her coin into the water, Arya fully left her past behind. She also demonstrates to have a passion for killing as she kills the street thugs. The FM takes the decision to let Arya in, but Arya keeps referencing to him as Jaqen H’ghar as he wears the identical face. Jaqen makes Arya sure that he is no one, just like she has to become. He teaches Arya about the one true god, the Many-Faced God or ‘death’; an identity Arya has to take on herself. Arya plays the Game of Faces, a game she has played many times before (e.g: when meeting Tywin she had to play someone else). Arya also has to get rid of the things that remind her of her ‘old self’. She fails to do so, as she hides Needle somewhere. Arya quickly becomes good at telling lies. She’s permitted to the Hall of Faces and gets her next task: becoming someone else. Arya already knows how it feels to play someone else (e.g: Arry), so she has no trouble to embrace a new identity. In reality, Arya is finding herself once again during the training. She has to apply everything she has learned from others (Yoren forced her to play Arry; The Hound taught her more about killing an ill man; ..) to find herself again. She then crosses paths with another strong character trait of herself: lust for revenge. Arya bumps into Meryn Trant in Braavos and immediately follows him. Arya returns to the House of Black and White and the Jaqen realizes that Arya hasn’t left her old identity behind. Jaqen actually is a supporter of a combination of Arya’s identities (= a Faceless Man who has to clear out Arya Stark’s enemies /Arya and death combined.) Jaqen H’ghar and the Waif are both ‘no one’, both have been set up Arya’s quest to let her find her new identity. The Waif is, in contrast to Jaqen, a supporter of regular training and wants Arya to follow the same training as any other FM. Arya then betrays the FM and steals a face from the Hall of Faces to murder Syrio Forel. Jaqen and the Waif aka ‘no one’ seemingly punishes her, but she only goes on with her training. Arya is experiencing an illusion set up by Jaqen H’ghar. The Waif suddenly takes off her face and puts on the face of Jaqen. Arya suddenly sees her own face on Jaqen’s, an illusion to test if she’s afraid of her own mortality. If she wants to fully possess her new identity, she needs to not fear death any longer. She actually proves to be scared when she sees her own face and loses her sight. In fact, Arya isn’t really punished but rather advances in her training because there’s still a lot of work to do. She is made blind by Jaqen, so she can learn to rely on her other senses. Jaqen knows that being made blind will be in her favor sooner or later.
Planted seeds from previous seasons that come to fruition now: Arya seemingly met Jaqen H’ghar, but it is really him?; The Hound learned her to give someone the quick mercy of death. Arya applies what he has taught her in a different way. She let an ill girl drink from the poisoned water. She dies thereafter.; Meryn Trant being crossed off Arya’s prayer and Syrio Forel being avenged.
Arya’s training consist of steps she has already taken in her life: taking on another identity (Arry vs. Lanna; as she was being forced by Yoren), giving the quick death of mercy (the dying man vs. the little dying girl; as taught by the Hound). It is Jaqen’s intention to let Arya have a blended identity: old Arya bringing death with the guise of Many-Faced God or Arya killing her enemies with many other faces.
Early seeds that will come to fruition in later seasons: Arya plays against the rules of the FM and becomes the enemy of the Waif. The Waif doesn’t want her to become Faceless >< Arya can clear the Waif out her way in S6; Arya secretly hides Needle >< Arya retrieves Needle in S6.
Another evidence of Arya’s short-sightedness and quick temper: using a face from the Hall of Faces to kill Meryn Trant without thinking about the consequences of it
The FM seem to watch Arya’s steps extremely closely. How would they retrieve Arya’s coin from the water otherwise? They know that Arya has hidden Needle from them, they know that she went to see Meryn Trant. Jaqen knows about this and supports her ‘rebelling’, but the Waif doesn’t approve.
Set up for season 6: Arya being made blind references a new step in her training, she’s almost there. She may have the support of Jaqen H’ghar, but with playing against the FM’s rules, she has become the enemy of the Waif.
Arya’s evolution in season 5: Arya accepts her new identity and wants to be trained to become no one. She’s still struggling a lot to leave her old identity behind and fails nonetheless.
SEASON 6: ARYA FINALLY TAKES ON HER NEW IDENTITY
Arya’s still blinded and has to fulfill another task: to rely on her other senses. The Waif visits her and continues to taunt her on purpose. She wants to break her both physically and emotionally. Jaqen H’ghar also comes to seek her out and because of Arya’s strong determination of becoming faceless, Jaqen decides to permit her to enter the HOBAW again. Despite Jaqen has proven the Waif that Arya has a strong determination to become faceless, she still believes she isn’t one of them. The Waif continues to train Arya and against her expectations, the Waif is proven to be incorrect. The Waif desperately tries to confront Arya with her past so she can make a mistake. Arya Stark passes every test she has to go through so the Waif fails. Jaqen H’ghar is proven correct this time, much to the Waif’s annoyance. She’s permitted to see once again. Jaqen still supports Arya to have a blended version of her old and new identity and gives her another task. He confronts Arya on purpose with her old identity: she has to watch a play about her family. He realizes that Arya will fall back to her old identity and so gets against the principles of the Waif. He tells Arya that ‘one way or another, a face will be added to the Hall’. Or it will be Arya’s or The Waif’s, as he realizes that the Waif will come after her once she betrays the FM. Arya has gotten the instruction to kill Lady Crane, someone who reminds her of her mother. Arya starts to ask questions about Lady Crane to Jaqen, meaning that she’s starting to feel empathy for Lady Crane. Jaqen realizes that Arya’s beginning to indeed betray the FM and sends The Waif after her. Arya suspects Bianca, the younger actress, to have paid the FM but in fact, it is Jaqen who has set up the entire murder on Lady Crane. Arya starts to care more for Lady Crane and is visibly touched by the performance. She betrays the FM and tells Lady Crane that Bianca wants her dead. Being sent by Jaqen, the Waif witnesses Arya’s betrayal. Arya’s ‘final’ task was never to kill Lady Crane, but to kill ‘the Waif’. She has gotten to the point where she almost became no one, but he wants her to keep her identity in a way. Jaqen sends the Waif and ask to not let her suffer. Of course, he knows that the Waif won’t treat her softly, but he has to remain in his role. His plan has been working out up to now. Arya retrieves Needle, fully embracing her old identity again. She even decides to travel to Westeros again, but Jaqen won’t let her go until she’s fully passed his test. The Waif indeed finds Arya and stabs her to let her suffer. She’s convinced that Arya won’t make a chance against a trained Faceless Assassin. The Waif a different face again and murders Lady Crane. Lady Crane has sparked the memory of Arya’s mother, Catelyn Stark. So Arya does everything to fight back against the Waif. Arya’s blindness indeed had a critical meaning after all, because Arya is able to kill off the Waif in the dark. She has fully passed her task and Jaqen got rid of the Waif as he wanted to. He tells Arya that a girl finally is no one. Arya tells Jaqen that she’s Arya Stark of Winterfell and that she’s going home. This is what Jaqen wanted the whole time. Arya leaves the HOBAW and Jaqen remains behind with a smile on his face. Arya uses her recently acquired identity to kill off Walder Frey. She has become the Many-Faced God who comes the bring the Gift to everyone on Arya’s list. She’s able to kill Walder in cold blood and fully acquires all of the skills a FM possesses.
Another evidence of Arya’s short-sightedness and quick temper: walking and staring publicly on a bridge in Braavos while she betrayed the Faceless Men was a short-sighted and stupid decision
Planted seeds from previous seasons that come to fruition now: Arya being blinded had a purpose and was set up by Jaqen H’ghar; Arya’s wish to become a highly-trained assassin came true; Arya can clear the Waif out of her way; Arya avenged the Red Wedding by giving Walder Frey the same death as her mother’s.
Early seeds that come to fruition in later seasons: Arya has left the HOBAW and decides to travel back to Winterfell >< Arya arrives in Winterfell in S7. Arya murdered Walder Frey to avenge the Red Wedding, yet she there are much more Freys to take care of >< Arya will go RW on all of the Freys in S7
Jaqen H’ghar promised her way back in season 2 that he would teach her how to get rid of all of her enemies. He fulfilled his part and taught her so. Arya’s endgame has become clear now in ‘Game of Thrones’. She has to clear out some major players out of the Game. She brings death.
Set up for further seasons: Arya using her new ‘powers’ in future seasons.
Arya’s evolution in season 6: Arya’s quest to acquire the powers to become a highly-trained assassin came with many up’s and down’s. She always wanted to become a trained warrior (hence she trained with Syrio Forel way back in S1). She’s now ready to bring justice to those who wronged her.
SEASON 7 AND 8: ARYA’S NEW IDENTITY DOESN’T FIT IN HER PREVIOUS LIFE ANY LONGER.
Considering the leaks are true, we already know some parts of Arya’s storyline in season 7. Allegedly, Arya holds a banquet to poison all of Walder Frey’s sons. She also frees Edmure, so chances are great that Edmure get back Riverrun. Before Arya reunites with Sansa and Bran at Winterfell, she meets Nymeria again. Then she finally sees her sister and brother again, but as we learned in season 1, Arya and Sansa don’t get along well with each other. Littlefinger will take advantage of the situation and play out Arya and Sansa against each other to get rid of Arya. Arya doesn’t trust Littlefinger from the beginning as she saw him together with Tywin Lannister in Harrenhall. LF makes Arya sure that Sansa never was a true Stark by heart and wrote a letter to Robb to swear fealty to Joffrey. The two will almost come to a clash. Perhaps Arya will threaten to kill Sansa? Bran tells Sansa that Littlefinger is setting her up against Arya Stark. Sansa Stark takes a firm decision and shows her loyalty to her family by ordering Arya to have LF executed. Arya indeed executes LF.
Major conclusions in season 7: Arya and Sansa finally learn to work together, as Ned told Arya to do so way back in the first season. The sisters learn that the Starks must always work together if they want to survive winter. Arya and Sansa’s relationship will the prime focus in Arya’s storyline next season. Next to that, Arya will also reunite with Nymeria which is another great resolution in her arc. She’ll also spar with Brienne of Tarth, who she encountered in S4. According to the leaks, Jon finds out by a raven that Arya and Bran are in Winterfell. Jon and Daenerys travel North in the season finale, while Bran and Sam solve the puzzle behind Jon’s legitimacy.
How will Arya’s storyline end in season 8? Two theories on the subject matter:
THEORY 1: We know that the Waif spoke against Arya’s rebellion during her Faceless training and she can’t be the only one there with this opinion so the theory could go as following: Arya stays in Winterfell, meanwhile the Faceless Men are looking for Arya to execute her for rebelling against them. After season 7, Arya thinks that she’s safe and sound with her family but then one of the Faceless Men shows up and almost manages to kill Sansa Stark. The Faceless Men wears the face of the Waif. Arya’s able to intervene but realizes that she isn’t safe in the North any longer so she travels South. She doesn’t want to bring Sansa and Jon in danger. With Nymeria by her side, she travels South to King’s Landing. She decides to take off the last two names on her list: the Mountain and Cersei Lannister. On her way to King’s Landing, she crosses paths with the Hound who was also present during the Dragonpit Parlay. Arya tries to convince him to fight the Mountain. The Hound thinks that it’s true madness to fight the Mountain but Arya explains to him that she’s a trained assassin now. The Hound agrees if he gets to finish his brother. Arya first kills Qyburn and decides to wear his face. She first attacks the Mountain by surprise. It is the Hound who’s the one to finish him. We’ll get an amazing fight scene where Sandor is finally able to kill his brother. Unfortunately, Sandor is mortally wounded. Cersei, who’s left unguarded now that the Mountain is gone, is visited by Qyburn in the Throne Room. Qyburn tells Cersei that Arya Stark came to King’s Landing to kill her. Cersei instructs Qyburn to find the girl and to bring her to her. Qyburn takes off his face and tells Cersei that that wouldn’t be necessary. Arya reveals herself and mortally wounds Cersei with her knife. She brings forward Nymeria to finish Cersei for once and for good. She leaves the Throne Room and finds a dying Sandor Clegane. Sandor asks Arya to kill him this time, telling her that she has become a real killer. A better killer than he ever was. Arya stabs him fatally in the heart and leaves King’s Landing, hearing the bells tolling in the background. In the Riverlands, she finds out that the White Walkers have already invaded the North and will soon take the Riverlands as well. Not wanting to bring her family, she decides to stay in the inn of the Riverlands where she has another encounter with a Faceless Assassin. She quickly leaves the inn and heads more North where she finds herself in the middle of a battle. She sees Jon Snow among the men fighting and witnesses how Jon is about to be killed by a group of wights. Wanting to warn her brother, she is a by attacked Wight from behind and is heavily wounded. Collapsing on the ground, she shouts for Jon who doesn’t seem to hear her. Arya dies with Needle between her frozen fingers. Nymeria doesn’t want to leave her side. Having to flee the battlefield, Jon finds his sister back frozen to death. At first, he doesn’t know her but he seems to recognize Needle and Arya’s direwolf. Much to his anguish, he collapses after realizing that he has found back his sister. Jon, being in tears, takes Needle from Arya’s frozen fingers and takes her body South to burn her before she turns into a whight.
THEORY 2: Arya will not kill Cersei as she has chosen to return to Winterfell, not to cross off another name of her list. She meets Daenerys Targaryen and is reunited with Jon Snow in S8. The reunion will be heartbreaking, of course. Daenerys finds out about Jon’s legitimacy and responds in a way no one would have ever guessed. Daenerys eventually becomes the true villain of the series. After she has found out that Jon is the true heir to the Iron Throne, she desperately kills Jon Snow out of anxiety to have her power taken away by him. Jon, who really loved Daenerys, passes away. Daenerys thinks that they are plotting to clear her out of the way, just like they did with her father. She claims to be the Prince Who Was Promised and believes that she’s the one to save Westeros, not Jon Snow. It’s ultimately Arya who avenges Jon Snow’s death and kills Daenerys with Needle. Arya has always been short-sighted and quick of temper, she’ll seal the fate of Westeros by killing Daenerys. Westeros will ultimately fail during the invasion of the White Walkers and Cersei, who’s left alone with Jaime, experience first hand how the world collapses. Cersei will try to blow up King’s Landing with wildfire when the WW reach KL. In a final confrontation with Jaime, Cersei will try to blow up King’s Landing and therefore kill everyone inside King’s Landing including herself and Jaime. Jaime will try to stop this madness and tries to stop her by killing her. After realizing that he killed the only woman in his life, Jaime is so heart-broken that he doesn’t give a shit about the world anymore. He’ll die during the final explosion in King’s Landing, with a dead Cersei in his arms. Wouldn’t that be symbolic: together coming in the world and together leaving the world? Cersei becoming the ultimate heroine by saving Westeros from the doom, while Daenerys became the outright villainess. Back to Arya, Arya will die trying ferociously to save Westeros, but is frozen to death with only Needle between her frozen fingers.
Arya’s main focus has always been the notion of ‘giving death’, so I do think she’ll kill off a major character during her endgame. My bet is on either Daenerys, Jaime or Cersei. She told Jaqen in season 6 that she would go back to Winterfell, so I don’t think she’ll travel to KL first. According to the leaks, Arya goes to Winterfell after having the Freys all murdered. I think she’ll stay in the North, as she has already been in King’s Landing once. Her endgame will take place in the North, defending her family with Nymeria by her side. Arya’s known for taking short-sighted decisions, so it wouldn’t be too weird for her to kill the murderer of Jon Snow, Daenerys, and thereby sealing the fate for Westeros, having killed the Prince Who Was Promised.
Which theory do you like the most? Let me know in the comments below.
Another year passed by and so did the sixth season of Game of Thrones. What a lovely season it was! The Starks took back Winterfell and Lady Sansa got justice for what was done to her. Arya got to cross off another name from her list and Daenerys’s wish finally came true. Unfortunately, there were also a lot of tragic events. We got to know the real meaning behind Hodor’s hodoring and the tragic fate of this hero; We lost our favorite Queen, Queen Margaery Tyrell and her father (Mace) and brother (Loras). Thank the gods that Jon was brought back to life this year! Let’s not lose any more time. We are going to count down this year’s 50 best characters from Game of Thrones. But first, let’s take a look at last year’s top 5 characters again! Will Tyrion Lannister remain at the top?
5. Ned Stark
4. Jaime Lannister
3. Arya Stark
2. Jon Snow
1. Tyrion Lannister
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Top 50-41 of 2016
The Mountain loses 2 places this year! Ser Gregor Clegane has not been so fortunate in Game of Thrones throughout all seasons. In the season finale of season 6, we found out what Qyburn has done to him. He looked awful, but do we really care about this guy in the end? I mean, he’s the worst person in Westeros, right? And right now, he’s having a great time torturing Septa Unella. Well, you know, what goes around comes around. Serves you right, Frankenmountain.
Finally, she makes this list! Yara Greyjoy returned in season 6 with full vengeance. I have to admit that Yara had a weaker part to play in season 3 and 4, but she managed to become one of my favourite characters in season 6. Yara Greyjoy made her brother find himself again and traveled together to Queen Daenerys Targaryen with him. She could even intimidate the Mother of Dragons. Yara is a badass character and I love to see more scenes of her with Dany. Welcome in our list, miss Greyjoy.
Our friendly Gendry isn’t lucky this year. He hasn’t shown up in more than three years and we can only guess about his whereabouts. Some think he might still be rowing. Well, when he returns he will make up for a very muscular guy. This blacksmith has everything: the looks, the brains, and the right family name. Except, he’s a bastard. Let’s hope he’ll make a wonderful return one day and that he’ll be legitimized. Hopefully, he doesn’t bump into Melisandre again. Have fun rowin’, Gendry. But don’t forget to be around in the top 50 of next year!
This is a surprise! Welcome, Mance Rayder. Before we got to know you better, you were taken away from us. But you weren’t a bad guy at all. Mance actually cared for the people that lived beyond the Wall and wanted to save them. He even sacrificed his own life to remain loyal to his people. I am glad that he’s part of our list. Long live the king-beyond-the-wall! Well done, Rayder!
It looks like Mance Rayder took one of our favorite giants to the list. Here’s Wun Wun! We met this awesome giant in Hardhome where he survived the attack of the Night King and his army of the undead. Wun Wun was one of the first to make an alliance with Jon Snow in order to survive in the North. He fought for Snow and made sure the Starks got their home back. He even sacrificed himself. We will never forget this noble act Wun Wun. Welcome at #46!
Much to my surprise, she didn’t make last year’s top 50. Perhaps that was because of her one-year break during season 5. This year she returned and kicked some ass. Meera was one of the few to kill a White Walker in season 6 and she made sure Bran could escape safely during the attack of the Night King. Meera also was the one to shout the infamous sentence ‘Hold the Door’ to Hodor, which led to his sacrifice. Meera was always there to protect her brother Jojen and she’s now doing the same for Bran. This girl really deserves a spot in our list.
Another newcomer: Beric Dondarrion. And his return to season 6 might contribute to the fact that he finally made this list. Lord Beric has been a very lucky guy, being brought back multiple times. Yet, he doesn’t consider himself very lucky. Beric has always been on Thoros’s side and this season he and Thoros decided to let in The Hound in their group. Who has ever thought the three would work together in the end. I cannot wait to see the threesome in action. Welcome in our top 50, Beric.
Slowly but surely this creepy man is gaining more power in Westeros and over this list. He goes forward 7 pieces in the Game of Characters. This season, we learned more about the Nigh King’s background. He was an actual human created by Leaf, a Child of the Forest, in order to protect themselves against the human kind. Their plan backfired and the Children of the Forest got extinct by the hands of the White Walkers. The Night King can also be blamed for the deaths of thousands of people and animals, including ‘Hodor’, ‘Summer’ and the ‘Three-Eyed Raven’. Where will he end next year? This creep gets scarier every season.
Our good old King Robert is still on the list. But time didn’t treat him well, though. Robert loved drinking, whoring and of course eating. This Baratheon king got the game all started when he asked Ned to become the Hand of the King. Poor King Robert never realized that he didn’t have any children with Cersei, in the end. Well, he did have a lot of bastards! You might be gone for 6 years now but you are still in our hearts.
He didn’t have a lot of screen time in season 6 but he had one hell of an introduction last season! Euron Greyjoy traveled around the world and made his way back to Pyke. He claimed the Salt Throne and won but there’s still a problem he needs to take care of: Yara and Theon Greyjoy. We saw Yara earlier in this list, I suspect Theon to be a lot higher. Nice entry Euron and good luck with your thousand fleets!
Top 40-31 of 2016
Another great character that we lost in season 6: Roose Bolton. Roose Bolton reminded us of Lord Tywin Lannister. He was cunning and mysterious, and we’ll never forgive him for betraying the Starks but he wasn’t the worst villain in the end. His bastard was. We’ll never find out if Roose underestimated Ramsay or if he was planning to get rid of him all along. We’ll surely miss this great character, portrayed by. This year, Roose remarkably loses 13 places and ends at #40.
BIGGEST LOSER OF 2016 ‘You know nothing, voters!’ Ygritte loses a huge amount of places (14!) this year. This girl, who was kissed by fire, was Jon’s first and only love. Ygritte never minced her words and genuinely loved Jon Snow, which is rare in the TV-series. Our hearts broke when Ygritte was killed by Olly a few moments after she was reunited with the love of her life. Well, it was an awkward reunion, to be honest. We’ll never forget her last words: ‘You know nothing, Jon Snow’. You were an amazing character Ygritte! Rest in peace.
Look who we have here: Brynden ‘Blackfish’ Tully! Our favourite Tully returned briefly last season. His dialogue with Jaime was awesome as we learned that he hasn’t lost a bit of his personality. He was as sharp as ever. Brienne of Tarth tried to convince the Blackfish to fight for the Starks but just like his father, he remained stubborn and continued to fight for his home, Riverrun. Many fans were disappointed in the way the Blackfish went out. Well, we never got to see it! This legendary fighter may have gone down but we’ll never forget him. He even wins one spot on our list this year.
We have waited a long time to see the best swordsman Westeros has had: ser Arthur Dayne. Man, this guy was impressive. He didn’t have a lot of screentime and I hope we’ll get to see him again one way or another because he looks like a great character. Ser Dayne was about to win in a combat (1v4) but if Howland Reed didn’t kill him from behind, he would have won. At least, Dayne went down as an honorable fighter. Welcome in our list, Arthur Dayne!
A Man has lost 10 places this year. A man is not pleased! We all have to admit it. Jaqen’s arc in season 6 wasn’t the best, though. He had very little to work with and his storyline started to drag. Overall, Jaqen still remains a charming and mysterious character. His character has served its purpose: he made a faceless assassin of Arya Stark. Perhaps, we’ll see him once again but I really doubt that. It would be a nice surprise. Jaqen ends at #36.
This is a big surprise! Khal Drogo impressively earns 11 spots on our list this year! Is it because Daenerys was reintroduced to the Dothraki this year? Well, it may be a contributing factor. Khal Drogo was one of the greatest fighters we have seen in Thrones and Jason Mamoa was excellent in his part. I feel like his character went out way too early… He has a wonderful part to play and I am glad he’s still popular after 5 years of absence. Well done, Drogo! Hopefully, you can make it to the best 30 next year.
Who do we have here! I am happy that this awesome character finally makes our top 50! Edd was great and funny in season 6. His look at Tormund’s flirting face to Brienne was priceless. We would have never guessed that he’d last this long but here we are. Edd made it even to Lord Commander in the sixth season. He has always been a very loyal character, supporting Jon even after his death. This great man deserves his entry in our list. Welcome, Eddison.
What a great character she was, our Catelyn Stark. This woman had a hard time in Game of Thrones, losing almost all of her children and her husband. Catelyn Stark was a fierce and strong character and Michelle Fairley did a wonderful job breathing this character to life. Many hoped that Cat would have made a vengeful return but the show choose not to go in that direction. Apart from that, we’ll always consider Catelyn as one of the strongest female characters the show has ever had. It’s a pity that she has lost 9 places, though.
Hold the door! Hodor enters this list at #32. He all surprised us in season 6, didn’t he. We would haver never thought his character would be of such relevance in the most recent season. We learned more about Hodor’s background. His actual name is Wyllis and he was a stableboy in service of House Stark. When the Bran Stark entered the mind in the Hodor of the past, he linked both Wyllis and Hodor’s minds. Hodor’s mind was broken and he could only utter one phrase to save his best friends: ‘Hold the Door’, ‘Ho the Dor’, ‘Hodor’. Arghh, never was a character’s death so devastating. Welcome in the top 50, Wyllis!
Too bad, the Red Woman doesn’t make the top 30 this year! Melisandre had an amazing arc in season 6 as we got to see a more vulnerable side of her. Van Houten did a terrific job, especially during the infamous transformation scene! I am bit upset that this character lost 9 places. Even after more than 4 years of having her in the show, she never failed to keep my interest. She’s such a well-written gray character. Melisandre had interesting story arc so far, but the second half of season 6 was a bit disappointing for her. She barely appeared! Besides that, I am happy that Mel is still part of our list.
Top 30-21 of 2016
We open our top 30 with a real pain in the ass, named Joffrey Baratheon. Although the character is despicable, the actor Jack Gleeson did an amazing job portraying king Joffrey Baratheon. One of the few deaths we weren’t upset about was Joffrey’s, even though he really suffered in the end. Joffrey got his right cake served. He reigned for almost three full seasons and made up for one of the best written and acting villains in the history of television. This year, he has lost 2 places on our list.
One of the characters we really miss is Maester Aemon! Actor Peter Vaughan passed away this month so that might contribute to his increased popularity this year. He goes 8 places forward in our list. Aemon Targaryen was a kind and wise man, one of the few truly inspiring people in Westeros. He gave up his claim to the Iron Throne and allied himself to the Night’s Watch where he became Maester. Aemon could never really process what the Lannisters did to his family.. The poor man! We shall never see his like again. RIP Peter Vaughan (and Aemon Targaryen). May you forever live through the eyes of your character.
Wow, what a climber! Samwell climbs 14 places this year. Impressive, man! Samwell had an interesting arc last season. He didn’t appear in many episodes but it was cool to see him in the South this time. We got to meet his family (and his unsympathetic father), and we finally saw some of Oldtown! Season 6 was, without a doubt, Samwell’s most interesting season. This might explain the increase in the popularity of his character. Hopefully, Sam’s dream comes true next season and he can become a Maester of the Citadel.
Another huge surprise right here! Barristan Selmy climbs 16(!!) spots in our list. This skilled warrior was super loyal to the kings and queens he served, yet he was never really satisfied. He always served a king who wasn’t worth to rule over the Seven Kingdoms. When he was dismissed by King Joffrey, he decided to meet Queen Daenerys Targaryen and realized that she was worth fighting for. Barristan gave his life to defend Daenerys’s and died. He was a truly inspiring figure and he hasn’t been forgotten at all. Very well done, ser Barristan!
No man can pronounce ‘Khaleesi’ better than Jorah Mormont. Our favorite bear loses 7 spots this year but he still manages to make the top 30. Oof. Jorah hasn’t been the luckiest guy in the series: being exiled to Essos, being friendzoned by the woman he’s head over heels in love with and contracting grayscale. Yet, Jorah doesn’t give up on life and keeps fighting for Daenerys Targaryen. He ends at #26 this year.
The main villain in season 6 was Ramsay, no discussion about that. Ramsay’s power increased last year as he became the Warden of the North after killing his own father in cold blood. Ramsay became more sadistic than ever: killing Roose, Walda, Walda’s baby, Osha and Rickon. That’s an impressive list. Just like he deserved, Sansa gave him a gruesome death. This was without a doubt the most satisfying death ever on TV. Iwan Rheon was amazingly good as Ramsay Bolton. He ends at #25 in our list. We’ll miss you in the show, Iwan!
BIGGEST CLIMBER OF 2016 Bran Stark finally returned in season 6 and his storyline was very impressive! Under the supervision of the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran learns more about Jon and Hodor’s past. The latter’s past was horrifying for Bran. Bran Stark realized his fate in season 6, he had to become the all-knowing Three-Eyed Raven. He’ll be one of the frontline players in the great war to come. Bran climbs 23 (yeah, this is really remarkable!) spots in our list. Congratulations, Isaac! We’d love to discover more of your visions next season.
One of my personal favorites is Olenna Tyrell. Unfortunately, she loses 2 places in our list this year. I am glad she still makes the 23 best characters. Olenna became a more prominent character in season 6. She finally decided to do something about her grandchildren’s situation and marched her army to the Sept of Baelor. Thanks to Margaery, she decided to leave King’s Landing and thereby escaped death. A smart move by Olenna. She was the only one who could put Cersei in her place and leave her speechless afterward. Olenna didn’t win the game, though. She lost all of her family and is heading toward her end game: avenging her family. She ends at #25.
HIGHEST NEW ENTRY OF 2016 What an entry for the ruling lady of Bear Island, Lyanna Mormont! We met this little girl last season and found out that she isn’t someone to handle with kid gloves. Lyanna is a fierce leader and was one of the very few who dared to put trust in Jon Snow. Her speech in the season finale gave me goosebumps. She even looks like a young version of Olenna Tyrell! This kid outmaneuvers everyone from a political viewpoint. Joffrey and Tommen could have learned a great deal from this young lady. Excellent work, Lyanna Mormont of Bear Island!
The Young Wolf almost made the top 20! Robb Stark is the second Stark kid in this list and I’m certain we come across even more of them much higher in this list. Robb wasn’t a fortunate character either. The biggest mistake he made was falling in love with the wrong woman. His death scene became one of the iconic moments in Game of Thrones. Robb Stark loses one spot this year and ends at #21.
THE 20 BEST CHARACTERS OF 2016
One of the devastating losses in Game of Thrones so far is Margaery Tyrell’s death. We met this Queen in season 2 when she was still married to Renly Baratheon. Margaery was fit to rule and groomed by no better political ruler than her grandmother, Olenna. Queen Margaery was obviously trying to win the Game. She was succeeding in getting her brother out of prison and managed to be freed without doing the Walk of Shame. Margaery was the only one who didn’t underestimate Cersei and therefore outsmarted everyone in the Sept of Baelor. Margaery Tyrell was without a doubt one of the most intelligent characters and Game of Thrones and will be terribly missed next season. At least, she went out with a BOOM. The Queen of Hearts loses 7 places this year and opens our top 20.
What a climb! Well, Tormund is experienced in climbing as we recall. He goes 17 (!) steps forward this year and ends at #19. This wildling fellow wasn’t as popular when we met him in season 3. Slowly he turned into one of the good guys who became part of Jon’s most loyal men. Tormund valiantly fought next to Jon’s side in the Battle of the Bastards, wanting to save his people from Ramsay Bolton. Tormund has won our hearts! And Brienne Tormund’s!
I am glad that Sansa Stark made it to the top 20. To be honest, I expected her to be a bit higher! Sansa had a breathtaking arc in season 6. She was finally able to take back what was hers and to take revenge on the man who abused her both physically and mentally. Sansa was also the first to be reunited with another ‘Stark’ kid, Jon Snow. The arrival of her and Littlefinger was another amazing scene during the Battle of the Bastards. Sansa’s character developed wonderfully this year. Too bad, she loses 1 spot in our list.
What a stunning character development did Theon have up to now. From being an arrogant prick to becoming a true villain who then got tortured and mentally broken, to later finding ways to redeem himself. Theon Greyjoy is one of the great examples of how well-written the characters are. Theon managed to find himself once again with the help from his sister, Yara. He again has a goal to fulfill in the greater game. Theon loses 2 spots this year, ending at a well-deserved 17th spot.
Another great climber in our list: it’s Brienne of Tarth. Brienne had a disappointing arc in season 5, but redeemed herself once again in season 6. Brienne kept her oath to Catelyn Stark and returned Sansa, together with Podrick, safely to her brother. She also became Sansa’s loyal right hand! It was beautiful to see how relieved Brienne was when Sansa accepted her proposal. Brienne is one of the most loyal servants, if the not the most loyal servant, in Game of Thrones. I hope to see more badass fights of this warrior woman! For now, well done Brienne! You end quite high in this list, at #16.
THE 15 BEST CHARACTERS OF 2016
Stannis Baratheon gets knocked out of the top 10 and ends at #15 this year. It’s a year since he’s gone now and the show has never been the same since his death. Stephen Dillane did a terrific job by bringing this great character to life. Stannis was a troubled man who had to choose between the good and the evil. The many disappointments in his life lead him to choose a darker path. In a moment of total desperation, he decides to burn his daughter at the stake and thereby lost a great deal of his army. He fought and he lost. May you rest in peace, Stannis Baratheon. The one true king!
‘Don’t say it. Don’t fucking say it.’ This is our man, Bronn. Bronn earns 4 spots in our top 50 this year. Bronn did quite well for himself: from being a cut-throat to being knighted after the Battle of Blackwater. Bronn was always seen next to Tyrion’s side but since season 5, it looks like he has become Jaime’s right hand. Jaime and Bronn together went on a mission to Dorne, which failed. Thereafter they traveled to the Riverlands in order to give Riverrun back to the Freys. This time they won. Bronn is a man of few words. He says what he thinks and doesn’t give one shit about anyone else. Way to go Bronn!
‘The climb is all there is’. He was right, after all, our Petyr Baelish aka Littlefinger. This sly master manipulator manages to climb three steps this year. Petyr had some interesting stuff to work with this year. He tried to convince Robin Arryn to bring The Vale into the fold when it comes to the war against the Boltons. Sansa first rejected his offer but later realized that they need him at all cost. When Petyr and Sansa arrived just in time to save Jon and his army, the smug look on his face was priceless. What a great character he is. Well done this year, Littlefinger. I can’t wait to see more of your scheming next season.
Another climber in this list. If there is someone who rivals Littlefinger, it is Varys without a doubt. Varys is as manipulative as Littlefinger but there’s one big difference: Varys is actually one of the good guys. Since season 5, we’ve found out that his true loyalty lays with the Targaryens as he’s a loyal supporter of Daenerys Targaryen. Varys’s best friend throughout the series has to be Tyrion Lannister. Tyrion didn’t really trust him in the beginning, but later he realized that Varys is one of the few genuine friends he has got. Good job this year, Varys!
Exactly like last year, Oberyn Martell almost (!) made the top 10. Too bad, he didn’t succeed in entering the list of 10 best characters but this is a great result after all. Oberyn didn’t appear in many episodes, yet he’s considered as one of the best characters the show has ever had. Everything was great about this character: the acting, the storyline, the fighting, his dialogues. He had an impressive arc which ended with a major death scene. Oberyn was so popular that the TV-series took the step to introduce Dorne to us. It turned out not be as great as Oberyn’s character, though.
THE 10 BEST CHARACTERS OF 2016
We kick off the top 10 with a great character: Cersei Lannister. Cersei’s arc was a hell of a roller coaster filled with emotions. Cersei never was a gentle lady but we surely can sympathize with her. We witnessed how she slowly loses everything she holds dear: her children. The price she has to pay for the Iron Price is enormous. During the coronation, you can see how cold and broken Cersei’s character has become, only filled with hatred. Cersei is without a doubt one of my favorite characters which may have ended higher on this list. Unfortunately, she has to set 2 steps back.
This Queen with way too many titles manages to climb one spot in our top 10 best characters! Very well done, Dany! Daenerys pleased us this season with great speeches and flying demonstrations on her favorite dragon, Drogon. Her actions scenes in ‘Battle of the Bastards’ were epic and one of the best the show has ever seen. In the season finale, Daenerys took a huge step in her arc and finally decided to travel to Westeros with her army. I am certain Daenerys will end higher on this list next year! For now, she ends at the ninth place.
Another great character right over here! Tywin Lannister was the most intimidating character the show has ever had. As strong as a lion, I’m sure he’d make a very powerful and good ruling king. Tywin was absolutely winning the war but his only flaw was underestimating Tyrion. This meant his undergoing. Tywin was a cold and cunning strategist who went great lengths to achieve victory. Rest in peace Tywin Lannister. Yes, now the rains weep o’er his hall and not a soul to hear.
He made a surprising return in season 6; everyone’s favorite big hound ‘Sandor Clegane’! Sandor took a step back from all this killing and found peace in his life again with the help from Brother Ray. When Ray and the other villagers got slaughtered, the Hound decided to start killing again. He bumped into the Brotherhood Without Banners and became part of the group. It was a glorious moment when we realized that Sandor Clegane returned to Game of Thrones. This guy delivers the best one-liners in the show. Let’s get out with one of his. ‘Fuck the King’.
I am sorry to inform you that Ned Stark has been thrown out of the top five. This also means we will welcome someone new in our top 5 best characters of 2016. It all started with good old Ned Stark. You may be gone for more than 5 years, but you’re still one of the most popular characters the show has ever had. Ned even appeared in the most recent season as a younger version of himself. If you would live right now, you’d probably be proud of Sansa and Jon. Those two managed to get Winterfell back and reclaim it in the name of House Stark. For now, Ned ends at the sixth spot.
WE ARE ENTERING THE TOP FIVE.
But before that, I first want to mention the characters who were thrown out of the top 50 this year:
Tommen Baratheon (2015: 49th place)
Gilly (2015: 45th place)
Alliser Thorne (2015: 44th place)
Osha (2015: 41th place)
Missandei (2015: 38th place)
High Sparrow (2015: 35th place)
Thoros of Myr (2015: 34th place)
Yoren (2015: 33th place)
Shireen Baratheon (2015: 32th place)
Viserys Targaryen (2015: 31th place)
THE GREAT GAME: THE BIG FIVE
The biggest surprise of 2016: Davos Seaworth enters the top 5! This makes me really happy! Davos chose Jon’s side last season and it turned out to be an excellent choice. He’s the perfect loyal right hand to Jon, just like he ever was of Stannis. He even fiercely fought together with Jon Snow in the war against House Bolton. Davos also got his revenge for Shireen’s death by letting Jon banish Lady Melisandre. Davos is the one and only to take over Ned’s position in this list. Only honorable men can take the 5th spot. Well done, ser Onion Knight.
BEST FEMALE CHARACTER OF 2016 Arya no longer has a spot in the top 3, but she still manages to hold the title of ‘best female character in Game of Thrones (2016)’, which already is spectacular. Some people think Arya had a disappointing arc in season 6 and I (partly) agree with that. Arya’s return to Westeros in the season finale was badass and I can’t wait to see more of her now that’s she’s right back in the game. Being ‘successfully’ trained as a Faceless Assassin, you better watch out for this serial killer. Congratulations, Arya! You did very well this year.
This year, Jaime swaps places with Arya Stark and I’m OK with that. Jaime has always been a strong character. Even stronger in season 6, though. His dialogue with Edmure was great, as was his little moment with Brienne of Tarth. Season 6 was all about Jaime’s complicated relationship with Cersei. After the death of Myrcella, they found a way to grow closer again. When Jaime returns to the Red Keep after taking Riverrun from the Tullys, he clearly is upset with Cersei’s actions (which resulted in their last son’s death). I am curious to find out where they will go from here. Welcome in the top 3, Jaime fockin’ Lannister!
And yes, it happened! Tyrion no longer maintains his first position in the list. Other than that, Tyrion is without a doubt a wonderful character with witty dialogues and beautiful character development. To be honest, his storyline in season 6 was quite disappointing. He did nothing else than advising Daenerys and hardly developed. His best moment was when Daenerys made him Hand of the King once again. Tyrion in season 1 up to season 5 had an am-az-ing arc and only for that he right away deserves a spot in the top 3. I am sure his popularity will increase again when he’s reunited with his family next season. Still, Tyrion Lannister ended super high on this list! Congratulations!
THE BEST GAME OF THRONES CHARACTER (2016 EDITION)
BEST MALE CHARACTER OF 2016 Congratulation Jon Snow. What an amazing arc did he have in season 6? This man truly deserves the first place on our list. Being brought back from the dead by Melisandre, taking revenge on ser Alliser Thorne and Olly, starting and winning the war against the Boltons and finally becoming the King in the North. He must have been the luckiest man around this time. We got to know Jon Snow as a rather dull and uninspiring character but it turned out that he’d become the big hero of the story. We even discovered his parentage in the most recent season finale. What a wonderful season it was… I am eager to find out what will happen to him next season now he’s proclaimed as King in the North. Congratulations, Mr. Snow!
I hope you like this list! Let me know in the comments below. Thanks again for voting! I hope to see you again next year around the same time. Will Jon Snow keep his first spot or will Tyrion take it back from him? We’ll find out next year. But first, Winter is Coming! (Please fill in the poll below)
If more than 70% answers ‘yes’, I’ll organize ‘the top 50 best Game of Thrones episodes of 2016’ the week before New Year.
The first snowflakes are falling in King’s Landing. Men are rebuilding the Red Keep when Daenerys and co. arrive in King’s Landing.
Archmaester Marwyn tells Daenerys that winter has come everywhere in Westeros. The threat of the White Walkers has never been so close now. Melisandre agrees and tells them that the Long Night has started.
Tyrion and Varys also returned to King’s Landing. They walk trough the city and chat. Tyrion tells Varys that he had never thought that he would return to this city again.
Arya Stark and Nymeria arrive in Winterfell, together with Podrick, Brienne and Gendry. Jon can’t believe his own eyes. Arya runs to her brothers and hugs them. We have never seen Arya so happy. Jon asks Arya where she has been the whole time and how she survived. Arya tells Jon that it’s a very long story but that she had never forgotten to stick her enemies with the pointy end.
Jon thanks Brienne for bringing Arya and Sansa home and for keeping her oath to Catelyn Stark. He has never met such a loyal knight. Brienne gives back ‘Oathkeeper’ to Jon Snow, because she thinks she has fulfilled Catelyn Stark’s last wish.
Jorah and Daenerys have a conversation about her possible marriage to Jon Snow. Daenerys asks Jorah not to be jealous, because she’ll never want him to leave her side. Jorah promises Daenerys to protect her until the moment he dies.
Tyrion brings a visit to the dragons in the Dragonpit. Tyrion’s bond with the two smaller dragons is bigger than ever.
Tyrion also goes to the place where the Sept of Baelor once stood. He thinks about his family that has been buried there. Tyrion accidentally discovers Widow’s Wail, that has survived the destruction of the Sept of Baelor.
Gendry reveals his parentage to Jon and offers his sword to him to help him fight the Army of the Dead. Jon accepts his offer.
Jon tells Arya that they aren’t safe in Winterfell and that they need to leave the castle as soon as they can, together with the Northern Lords. He proposes Arya to travel to the Vale and asks Brienne and Podrick to accompany them. Arya tells Jon that she has become a trained warrior and that she can help them. Jon assures her that even the best trained warrior couldn’t handle the Army of the Dead.
Samwell Tarly and Gilly arrive in Winterfell as well. Samwell brings very important news to Jon.
Sansa and the Lords of the Vale find out that the Wall has fallen. Sansa tries to convince Robin Arryn to prepare his army to fight the White Walkers. Robin Arryn doesn’t seem to be concerned with it, much to Sansa’s anger.
THE IRON ISLANDS
A blizzard is taking place in the Iron Islands. Theon convinces his men to leave the Iron Islands. Otherwise they will all be meat for the Night King’s army.
Theon thinks it’s for the best to head to the Winterfell for the moment. They’ll be safer there, having Sansa’s help.
Theon and the Ironborn start sailing to Winterfell.
Samwell tells Jon about the marriage proposal of Daenerys Targaryen. At first, Jon opposes the idea to marry with his own aunt. Sam implores Jon to think about the fate of Westeros. The North needs the support of Daenerys’s army and her dragons are essential for the creation of the Valyrian Swords.
Jon finally agrees to travel to King’s Landing to meet Daenerys Targaryen together with the Northern Lords. He understands that they won’t be safe in Winterfell anymore.
Episode 2: The Long Night
Jon, Samwell, Gendry, Arya, Nymeria, Brienne, Podrick and the Northern Lords prepare to leave the North to head south. Jon begs Bran to come with them, but Bran remains stubborn. He thinks that a Stark must stay in Winterfell. The last time he ran away, the Boltons stole Winterfell from them. Jon warns Bran of the threat the White Walkers bring, but Bran answers him that he has already faced the Night King.
Brienne and Podrick bring Arya to the Vale, to her sister Sansa.
Gendry accompanies Jon and Samwell. Among the Northern Lords, we have Lyanna Mormont who’s become Jon most trusted advisor.
Arya, Brienne and Podrick are still on their way to the Vale. They notice how the climate has changed since they were there. Arya and co. arrive in the Eyrie. The two sisters are reunited.
Sansa and Arya talk about their mistakes in the past and forgive each other. Arya talks about her faceless training, which makes Robin Arryn laugh. He doesn’t see a warrior in such a small girl as Arya. Nymeria immediately dislikes Robin Arryn and when the direwolf starts to growl, Robin runs away.
Olenna Tyrell arrives in Horn Hill, where she meets with Melessa Tarly and Talla Tarly. Olenna offers her condolences to the two, but Melessa tells Olenna that they should have never sided with the Lannisters. Olenna tells Melessa that Cersei Lannister destroyed her House and that House Tyrell is nearly extinct. She realizes that she won’t live very long anymore and proposes to give the Reach to House Tarly if they side with Daenerys Targaryen.
Olenna offers the two a chance to join Daenerys’s army in the war against the White Walkers, because they can use all as many man as possible. Melessa accepts her offer.
An extreme winter storm takes place in the North. Bran asks Meera why she stayed with him in Winterfell, especially when it could result in her death. Meera tells Bran that she would never leave his side. Bran starts to kiss her.
Suddenly, Bran and Meera hear a smashing noise. They realize that the Army of the Dead try to break into Winterfell via the gate. Bran implores Meera to leave Winterfell immediately and to leave him behind. Meera tells Bran that she will never do that and that she would rather die with him.
The Wights manage to enter Winterfell. The Night King is also present among the Wights and tries to trace Bran Stark. Meera thinks that they both will die and pledges her love to Bran.
The Ironborn discover the attack and come to the aid. They help fighting the Wights. The Brotherhood Without Banners see what’s happening in Winterfell and decide to help them as well. Theon asks Thoros and Beric to bring the Starks to safety. He dies during the battle against the White Walkers, sacrificing himself for the Starks. The Ironborn are slaughtered by the Others. Unfortunately, Bran is being killed by the Night King. Thoros of Myr convinces Meera to leave together with them. Meera cries and tells Thoros that she’ll never leave Bran behind. She decides to take Bran’s body with her. The group flee Winterfell by horse, while it’s being destroyed by the Army of the Dead.
Episode 3: The Wolf and the Dragon
Jon and co. arrive in King’s Landing. Jon meets Queen Daenerys Targaryen.
A Small Council takes place. Among them we have Jon, Daenerys, Tyrion, Varys, Olenna, Missandei, Grey Worm and Lyanna Mormont. The group talks about the things that are going on right now in Westeros. They realize that they need to work together if they want to survive. Daenerys really needs the support of the North and offers a pact in the form of a marriage.
Jon informs the Small Council of his parentage, what causes a lot of surprise and misbelief. Lyanna ferociously supports Jon Snow against Olenna and Varys’s opinions. Jon tells them that he didn’t believe it himself at first, but it’s the truth. He was never interested in the Iron Throne anyway, even if he is the rightful successor. He only marries with Daenerys to save Westeros, not because he loves her. Daenerys remains his aunt after all.
Daenerys thanks Jon to agree with this (political) marriage and assures him that he made the right choice.
The Brotherhood headed to the Riverlands to escape the Night King’s Army. Meera is still sad after Bran’s death and tells the group that his existence was vital to the survival of Westeros. She explains them that Bran had the ability to warg and to look into the past and the future.
Beric Dondarrion understands that they need Bran in the Great War. He’s willing to sacrifice himself to give his life to Bran Stark. He asks a reluctant Thoros of Myr to speak the words. Thoros doesn’t want to at first sight, but Beric keeps insisting.
Melisandre visits Jon Snow in the Red Keep. At first, Jon Snow doesn’t want her in his presence but Melisandre offers him some vital information about the victory against the Army of the Dead.
Melisandre tells Jon that the Lord of Light demands a great offer if they want to win against the Night King. He needs a gift of ‘Fire and Blood’, which means that Daenerys Targaryen would be the ultimate gift to the Lord of Light. She thinks that Daenerys isn’t the conqueror, but the savior.
Jon Snow tells Melisandre that he’ll never commit such an atrocious crime and sends Melisandre away. Melisandre persuades him to look into the fire to see the truth himself. An astonished Jon looks into the fire..
Beric kills himself and Thoros does the usual ritual. Bran Stark opens his eyes and is reborn. He tells them that he has seen how they can save Westeros.
In King’s Landing, Samwell and Gendry talk about forging more Valyrian swords to fight the White Walkers. Gendry tells Samwell that he doesn’t know how to do that, but that he can try to reforge a new greatsword out of two smaller Valyrian swords.
The wedding of Daenerys and Jon takes place. Archmaester Marwyn marries Jon and Daenerys in the Red Keep, while the most important lords and ladies are present. Jon and Daenerys awkwardly consume their marriage. Both are still struggling to accustom themselves to their recent marriage.
Episode 4: The Lord of Light
Bran has woken up and realizes he has been brought back from the dead. Meera doesn’t know how to react to Bran’s resurrection. Thoros of Myr believes that the Lord of Light brought him back for a reason.
Bran asks the Brotherhood to bring him to the Vale, to his sister Sansa Stark.
Jon Snow, now officially King of the Seven Kingdoms, legitimizes Gendry Baratheon as the heir of Storm’s End.
Tyrion talks with Jon Snow. The two laugh about the fact how everything has changed since they have seen each other. Tyrion gives Jon ‘Widow’s Wail’, because it once belonged to Ned Stark. According to Tyrion, the sword should remain with the Stark family.
Olenna arrives in King’s Landing again and informs Daenerys and Varys about the pact with House Tarly. Daenerys thanks Olenna for her contribution.
Olenna Tyrell also talks with Samwell Tarly, informing him about his house’s involvement and their future position in the realm.
Bran and the Brotherhood arrive in the Vale. The two last Starks, Bran and Arya, are finally reunited.
Bran informs Sansa and Arya about the attack of the White Walkers on Winterfell. He also saw the dragons in King’s Landing as the ultimate weapon against the Army of the Dead. He urges Sansa to send someone to King’s Landing to help them before the White Walkers invade the Vale as well. Sansa sends Brienne and Podrick to King’s Landing, together with the Brotherhood.
Jon and Daenerys finally start to appreciate each other. Jon keeps thinking about the things the Lord of Light had shown him into the fire.
Sansa sends word to Riverrun to ask her uncle Edmure for help. He has sworn to stand alongside the Starks during the Great War.
Brienne, Pod and the Brotherhood start their journey to King’s Landing.
A heavy snowstorm takes place in the Vale. Sansa realizes that they need help from Jon asap.
ON THEIR WAY KING’S LANDING
Brienne, Pod and the Brotherhood make a stop and light a fire. Suddenly, the group is attacked by some wights. Thoros of Myr burns his sword and fights the undead with his flaming sword. Podrick tries to save Brienne’s life at one point, but is killed during the process. Brienne goes insane and kills off many wights. She later mourns over Podrick’s dead body but the group has to continue their quest to King’s Landing.
Episode 5: As High as Honor
Samwell learns about Jon’s two Valyrian swords ‘Oathkeeper’ and ‘Widow’s Wail’ and asks him if he may reforge them back into one greatsword. Jon accepts his proposal.
Gendry indeed reforges the two swords into one greatsword and calls it ‘Fire’.
Edmure Tully and his men arrive in the Vale. Edmure tells Sansa and Arya that he wouldn’t forget his family and promises to protect them during the Great War.
Arya tells Edmure that she was the one who killed Walder Frey. Edmure thanks Arya for bringing justice to his sister and nephew and to free him of his imprisonment.
Brienne and the Brotherhood arrive in King’s Landing. A small council takes place where Brienne pleads for help. Daenerys and Jon realize that the Night King won’t stop marching and that he’ll attack King’s Landing as well at one point.
Daenerys calls the banners. She asks Olenna Tyrell to call the Tarly and Tyrell army to let them march to the Vale. She heads back to the Reach. Jon also gathers his men, among them Lyanna Mormont, Lord Glover, Lord Manderly and Lord Cerwyn. Sam sends Gilly and the baby to Horn Hill, where they will be the safest.
Tyrion thinks it’s time to free the dragons and releases them out of the Dragonpit. He puts forward a plan to Daenerys: he thinks he’s ready to ride one of the dragons as well. ‘Fire’ is the only way to defeat the Army of the Dead.
Wights starts invading the Vale as well. Sansa and Arya order the Knights of the Vale to protect the Eyrie.
Robin Arryn wants to fight alongside the Lords of the Vale, even after they have persuaded him not to do so. Arya decides to join the battle, because they can need as many men as possible. Sansa, Bran and Meera stay inside the Eyrie.
Robin Arryn dies quite early in the process. The Knights of the Vale and the Tully forces are able to temporarily stop the attack of the Wights, but the fight isn’t over at all. Sansa and Arya realize that this was only a small bit of the Night’s King army and that they have already lost a great amount of soldiers.
Tyrell and Tarly men arrive in King’s Landing. Daenerys leaves King’s Landing temporarily in the hands of Archmaester Marwyn, Missandei, Varys, Melisandre, Samwell and Lyanna Stark
Melisandre tells Jon that they won’t stand a chance against the Night King as long as Daenerys is alive. Jon sends Melisandre away.
Daenerys and Jon prepare their men to march to the Vale. Daenerys speeches before the Dothraki and the Unsullied. Jon before the Northerners and the Southerners.
Gendry returns ‘Fire’ to Jon Snow as it belongs to him. Jon gives his Valyrian Sword ‘Longclaw’ to Jorah Mormont because it belongs to his House and Jeor Mormont would have been proud of his son right now. Jorah thanks Jon Snow for returning Longclaw to him.
Samwell hands ‘Heartsbane’ over to Brienne. He thinks that Brienne is one of the best warriors and she only should yield him during the fight. Brienne is honored by Sam’s word. She and the Brotherhood start marching to the Vale. Grey Worm and Gendry leave for the Vale as well.
Daenerys leaves King’s Landing on the back of Drogon, Tyrion on the back of Rhaegal and Jon on the back of Viserion. Beneath them we see their army marching to the Vale.
Episode 6: A Song of Ice and Fire [extra long episode]
The fight looks more like a slaughter until Daenerys, Jon and Tyrion arrive in the Vale. Daenerys commands Drogon to spit fire, Tyrion tries to do the same thing. Jon still struggles to control Viserion and Bran realizes that. He successfully attempts to warg into Viserion.
Edmure Tully and the Tully forces keep trying to defend the Eyrie from the White Walker invasion. At a certain point, Edmure is stabbed to death by a White Walker.
The Night King arrives in the Eyrie together with his army of Wights. Sansa realizes that they won’t stand a chance against the Night’s King and that they are leading a suicide mission.
The Night King keeps bringing Wights into the battlefield. There are even undead giants and wights riding on giant ice spiders.
Due to the snow storm and high winds, the dragons have zero visibility. The White Walkers, who are immune to the dragon’s fire, continuously throw spears on Daenerys’s dragons. Rhaegal is the first to be mortally wounded and slowly fall downs. Daenerys urges Tyrion to hide inside the Eyrie. Rhaegal, who tries to save himself, is stabbed to death by an enormous amount of Wights.
The army of Daenerys and Jon arrive in the Vale as well. A huge battle erupts. The army of the White Walkers outnumbers Westeros with 2:1. Brienne yields Heartsbane and fights ferociously. Arya Stark fights next to her side.
Jorah manages to kill off one of the White Walkers. Grey Worm command the Unsullied to fight the Wights. Jorah sees how another White Walker tries to kill off Daenerys. He hastens to the White Walkers and succeeds in killing him in time. He stares at Daenerys and at the same moment, he’s attacked by many Wights. Daenerys screams in agony when she sees Jorah dying after saving her life.
The White Walker army only seem to grow and the prospects for Westeros aren’t exactly positive.
Brienne is attacked by one of the White Walkers as well. Arya fights alongside Brienne and helps her during the fight. Brienne is able to kill off the White Walker.
The Night King doesn’t cease to bring in more and more Wights. Daenerys realizes how reduced her army is right now.
Grey Worm keeps fighting the Wights, but is killed off at one point. The White Walkers are managing to enter the Eyrie. Sansa, Tyrion, Meera and Bran start to realize that they have to get out of the Eyrie as soon as possible.
Daenerys faces the fact that her army is losing against the Night King and that they need to get out. She convinces Jon to mount Drogon with her and to get the others out of the Vale right now.
Daenerys (remaining Unsullied/Dothraki/Tarly and Tyrell forces) and Jon’s army (Northern Lords) retreat. Brienne, Arya and the Brotherhood try to bring Sansa, Bran and Meera to safety. Gendry who survived the battle as well, also returns to King’s Landing. Daenerys and Jon see on the back of Drogon how the Night’s King revives the dead people, including Jorah, Edmure and Grey Worm. The most frightening thing still has to happen: the Night King also revives Rhaegal, who now joins the Army of the Dead.
Jon and Daenerys arrive first in King’s Landing. They tell Varys, Melisandre, Missandei, Marwyn and Sam that the mission was a big failure and that Westeros is doomed.
Melisandre talks to Jon in private. Jon tells Melisandre that he doesn’t know what to do anymore. The Night King now even has a Whight Dragon by his side. Melisandre tells Jon that there’s only one way to defeat the Night King.
At night, Jon calls for Daenerys to come to him and asks to bare her breast and to close her eyes. Daenerys doesn’t understand what Jon is planning to do, but she listens to him and bares her breast. Suddenly, Jon drives his sword into Dany’s breast. Daenerys cries of anguish and asks Jon why he betrayed her. Jon tells her that he didn’t have a choice if he wants to save the people of Westeros. Daenerys collapses and dies with tears rolling down her eyes.
Archmaester Marywn sees how Melisandre, being convinced that she has fulfilled her task, is leaving King’s Landing in her true form by night. Where she heads to is unknown…
Episode 7: Winter is Over [double episode]
In the morning, Varys is the first to discover Jon’s betrayal and asks Dany’s men to capture him.
Tyrion, Sansa, Arya, Bran, Meera, Gendry, Brienne and the Brotherhood Without Banners arrive in King’s Landing. Varys informs them about Jon’s betrayal and brings together the Small Council. Tyrion thinks that Jon should be executed for his crime but Jon tells them that they should be concerned with another thing right now: the Night King is coming there way and if he doesn’t kill him, he will kill every living person in Westeros. Jon claims that he is the one to kill off the Night King with his sword ‘Fire’. It’s what the Red Woman had shown him into the fire. He has seen it with his own eyes. Varys angrily leaves the Small Council.
Daenerys’s remaining men feel betrayed and leave King’s Landing together to head back to Essos.
Gendry took Jorah’s sword ‘Longclaw’ with him and gives it to Jon Snow, as he doesn’t know to who it belongs right now. Jon Snow wants to give it back to Lyanna Mormont, because it should stay with House Mormont.
Sansa and Arya implores Jon not to kill off the Night King, but Jon tells them that they won’t stand a chance otherwise. It’s the only way to save Westeros.
Varys, Missandei and Tyrion say goodbye to Daenerys Targaryen. Varys tells Tyrion that he had always believed in Daenerys. The only ruler who was fit to sit on the Iron Throne was assassinated in a cowardly way. Tyrion tells Varys that Melisandre might have been right after all. Perhaps it was necessary to offer Daenerys to save countless lives? Varys remains reluctant when it comes to belief.
Daenerys’s ashes are being buried where the Sept once stood. Drogon, who’s being kept in the Dragonpit again, mourns over the death of his mother and refuses to eat.
Bran’s starting to sense the Night King presence as it gets remarkably colder in King’s Landing. The ground is starting to freeze and inside the Red Keep it gets as cold as ice.
Bran warns the others about the arrival of the Night King and urges them to leave King’s Landing asap. The Wights indeed start take over King’s Landing as well.
Sansa, Arya, Brienne, Marwyn, Sam, Bran, Meera and Lyanna Mormont are the first to try King’s Landing in time. Tyrion and Varys also find out about the invasion of the White Walkers and Varys implores Tyrion and Missandei to leave King’s Landing right now. Varys hastens to the Red Keep to warn the others. The Northern Lords want to keep supporting Jon Snow even in the world’s darkest times. Jon tells Varys to get out of King’s Landing while he still can.
The White Walkers and their remaining army start invading King’s Landing. The two remaining dragons, Drogon and Viserion are released from the Dragonpit and fight the undead Rhaegal. Varys tries to catch up with the rest.
The group of Sansa and co. is attacked by a White Walker at a certain moment. Brienne is able to save the others and kills off the White Walker. The group succeeds in leaving King’s Landing in time.
The people of King’s Landing desperately try to escape the city, but many are being slaughtered.
Viserion is killed by the undead Rhaegal. Drogon is finally able to kill off the undead Viserion, but is mortally wounded as well. A weak Drogon spits fire on as many wights as possible, but ignites the wildfire beneath the city in the process.
Jon and the Northern army face the Night King and the remaining White Walkers in the Throne Room. Many of the Northern Lords, among them Lord Glover and Lord Manderly, are being slaughtered by the White Walkers. Jon’s able to kill off the other White Walkers right until he and the Night King are being left. Jon, with his last ounce of strength, fights the Night King while the city is burning off.
Before the Red Keep goes up in the flames, Jon beheads the Night King with ‘Fire’ and dies within the Wildfire. Not only Jon but also Drogon is killed during the Wildfire explosion. The city goes up in smoke… The Iron Throne doesn’t exist anymore…
3 MONTHS LATER
We see a view at King’s Landing where only ashes remain of the city. There’s no trace of life in the city any longer.
Archmaester Marywn arrives back in Oldtown. He orders the other Maesters to immediately send raven to the Great Houses of Westeros.
A raven is sent to the Vale: Winter is officially over and spring is returning to Westeros.
Sansa is proclaimed the Lady of the Vale and talks with her right hand, Brienne of Tarth, about marrying Gendry Baratheon to secure the position of House Stark. Brienne asks Sansa whether she has seen her sister since they have fled King’s Landing, but Sansa tells her that she doesn’t know where she went to.
The news of Lady Olenna Tyrell’s death reaches Horn Hill. Lady Tyrell died of old age. Melessa Tarly tells her son that Lady Tyrell promised her that the Reach would go to House Tarly. Melessa wants her son to rule over the Reach, together with Gilly.
At first, Samwell doesn’t see himself as a capable ruler but Melessa assures him that he’s as intelligent as his father. His father only lacked something he does possess: kindness. Samwell accepts the offer and becomes the Lord of Horn Hill.
Tyrion and Missandei are seen laying in bed together. Both have fled to Casterly Rock during the Great War against the Night King. Tyrion and Missandei talk about Daenerys Targaryen. Missandei tells Tyrion that she will never forget that she has saved countless lives, including her own life.
Tyrion, being Lord of Casterly Rock, offers Missandei to marry her.
Varys suddenly shows up in Casterly Rock, much to Tyrion’s surprise. He would have never thought that the Eunuch would have survived. Varys tells him that eunuchs are too tough to kill.
Both talk about the fate of Westeros. There’s no king or queen any longer. Westeros is now being ruled by 7 rulers: Lady Sansa rules over the Vale and plans to marry Lord Gendry Baratheon who rules over Storm’s End. The Reach is being ruled by Randyll Tarly’s son, Samwell. Dorne remains independent and is ruled by the Sand Snakes. Casterly Rock is ruled by LordTyrion and Missandei. Winterfell is being ruled by Lord Bran Stark and Meera Reed. Edmure’s son with Roslin Frey will rule over Riverrun once he comes of age.
Varys thinks it’s for the better that the Iron Throne has been destroyed. In his lifetime, it only brought war and misery.
Bran orders his men to rebuild Winterfell. Meera notes that the weirwood tree in the Godswood has been destroyed as well. Bran tells Meera that he no longer needs to look into the past or the future. The only thing that matters now is the present together with her.
Bran is proclaimed as the Warden of the North and the Lord of Winterfell.
Bran asks Meera to bring him to the crypts. Bran visits his family: Ned Stark, Robb Stark, Rickon Stark, Lyanna Stark and of course Jon Targaryen. Bran placed Jon’s statue next to his mother, Lyanna, where he should be. Meera asks Bran about Arya’s whereabouts. Bran tells Meera that Arya would never be a Lady and that he’s certain that she’s surviving somewhere in this world.
Arya and Nymeria set sail on a ship to leave Westeros. This time for once and for good. When the captain asks Arya where he has to bring her, she tells him she wants to see the end of the world. She always wanted to know what’s west of Westeros.
The last shot is a smiling Arya Stark sailing to the edge of the world.
Game of Thrones is a wonderful show. Not only the content of show is great, but also its soundtrack. In fact, I fell in love with Ramin Djawadi’s work. Just like last year, we’re counting down the best tracks of the official soundtrack. Does ‘The Children’ remain at #1. Let’s find out.
TOP 25: BEST SOUNDTRACK (2016 edition)
25 (18) You are No Son of Mine (Season 4 OST)
Tyrion had his best storyline in season 4. From being accused of murder on king Joffrey Baratheon to the final confrontation with his father, Tywin Lannister. Tyrion was the outcast of his family and loathed by his own father due to his dwarfism. Tywin never appreciated the goodness in Tyrion and got what was coming to him. This beautiful piece was played during Tyrion’s escape to Essos, where he would meet with Daenerys Targaryen. His storyline blended perfectly with Arya’s. Both characters left their past behind and sailed to a whole new continent. ‘You Are No Son of Mine’ is touching, but yet so beautiful. Too bad it has lost 7 places this year.
24 (NEW) Two Swords (Season 4 OST)
Another great track from Season 4 that makes the list is ‘Two Swords’. The song isn’t particularly long, but the mixture between House Lannister and House Stark is just awesome. Tywin Lannister melts Ice, the sword of House Stark, into two swords that now belong to House Lannister. This small scene shows how the power shift from the Starks to the Lannisters. It became my personal favorite opening of any season and I am glad the song made it into the top 25.
23 (16) Winterfell (Season 2 OST)
Winterfell is one of Game of Thrones’s finest themes. The show has been using the theme throughout the series: when Luwin found out about Bran and Rickon’s fate, when Luwin died, when Sansa builds Winterfell in the snow and when Sansa and Jon talk about trusting each other. The song never fails to cause tears in our eyes. A lot of horrible things happened to House Stark, but the North will never forget.
22 (9) Warrior of Light (Season 2 OST)
‘Warrior of Light’ loses 13 places this year. Perhaps that’s because Stannis is no longer alive in the show, but that doesn’t change the fact that this song is badass. It was the first time Melisandre’s theme was revealed. The second part of the song contains Stannis’s main theme. I am happy that the song is still present in our top 25. RIP Stannis Baratheon. You will not be forgotten. Bonus: I found ‘Warrior of Light’ with an altered pitch, it’s worth checking out.
21 (22) What is Dead May Never Die (Season 2 OST)
House Greyjoy is back with full forces this year. Not only in the show but also in this list. ‘What is Dead May Never Die’ climbs one place to #21. The music was used during Theon Greyjoy’s baptism and has been re-used in a lot of variations of the song. ‘What is Dead May Never Die’ became House Greyjoy’s main theme.
20 (NEW) Hold the Door (Season 1)
The most emotional scene in season 6 was, without a doubt, Hodor’s death (and revelation). The soundtrack that was used for Bran’s biggest scene was astonishing and immediately takes a spot in the top 20. The best part of the song actually starts at 4:00 when Bran warged into the Hodor of the past and therefore broke his mind. Hodor fulfilled his quest and held the door for his friends so they can survive. The soundtrack is as heartbreaking as the scene itself. Well done, Djawadi.
19 (8) The King’s Arrival (Season 1 OST)
‘The King’s Arrival’ is a golden oldie and remains popular in this list (even if it loses 11 places). The song marked the arrival of King Robert Baratheon in Winterfell where he asked Ned Stark to become Hand of the King. We never realized what would happen afterwards… The song is a bit nostalgic in my eyes. It reminds me of the very beginning of Game of Thrones.
18 (NEW) Breaker of Chains (Season 4 OST)
Finally this song makes an entry in this list. ‘Breaker of Chains’ might be one of the most emotional variations of Daenerys’s theme. The chaining of the dragons absolutely the saddest thing in the fourth season. And this theme simply breaks your heart. A golden tip: check the video out below and start it from 1:40. You’ll realize that ‘Breaker of Chains’ is one of the most beautiful things you have ever heard.
17 (NEW) Khaleesi (Season 6 OST)
Another badass Daenerys theme. This girl really gets the best songs, doesn’t she? Season 6 brought her (a little bit) back to the first season. This time her ‘khalasar’ is much bigger than the one in season 1. Just like in season 1, Dany emerges from the fire and shows her strength to the Dothraki. ‘Khaleesi’ reminds us of ‘Finale’, another song that earned a place in this list. Let’s rewatch this cool scene and Emilia Clarke’s ‘hot’ body of course.
16 (3) A Lannister Always Pays His Debts (Season 3 OST)
This Lannister theme couldn’t be left out in this list. Last year, ‘A Lannister Always Pays His Debts even ended in the top 3. This year, the epic song loses 13 (!) places. This song is a rendition of the infamous ‘Rains of Castamere’. If you hear it being played on a violin during a wedding, you’d better run. The Lannister songs never fail to intimidate the public.
15 (NEW) Reign (Season 6 OST)
‘Reign’ is another variation of Daenerys’s main theme; a theme that’s very popular in this list. Daenerys not only flies her dragon this time, but also orders them to attack while she’s riding the dragon. Can she be more badass? The beginning of ‘Reign’ is extremely powerful and makes you want to fly a dragon yourself. A variation of ‘Dracarys’ can be heard as well. ‘Reign’ also symbolizes the breakout of Viserion and Rhaegal. You can witness that epic scene once again. The song opens the top 15 of our list.
14 (7) Forgive Me (Season 5 OST)
‘Forgive Me’ is a weird case. Not the song, but the title actually. ‘Forgive Me’ has also been used in the soundtrack for season 4, when Dany banished Jorah. This time it’s used for a far worse tragedy: the burning of poor Shireen Baratheon, which was without any doubt the saddest scene throughout the series. The song contains Melisandre’s standard theme but slowly evolves into a very sad rendition of the theme. The best part of the song starts at 2:15, when mother Selyse tries to save Shireen but fails. I am not going to show the heart-wrenching scene, but instead the other ‘Forgive Me’. Check it out.
13 (NEW) Hear Me Roar (Season 6 OST)
Hear her roar. Cersei I Lannister, Queen of the Andals and First Men. One of my personal favorite scenes was Cersei’s coronation. I don’t like the things that she has done, but she’s badass for sure. This epic song once again shows the influence and power of House Lannister. Long May She Reign. ‘Hear Me Roar’ enters the list at #13.
12 (NEW) Blood of My Blood (Season 6 OST)
The first 45 seconds of this song are just too awesome. The speech that went along this epic soundtrack less so. But that doesn’t change the fact that I totally love ‘Blood of My Blood’. Again, Daenerys’s themes are doing excellent this year. You might want to check out this awesome cover of ‘Blood of My Blood’. It’s almost identical to the original one.
11 (14) Chaos is a Ladder (Season 3 OST)
Hey, this is one of the few songs that actually end higher on the list this year. One of the best speeches in Game of Thrones was certainly ‘Chaos is a Ladder’ by Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish. Petyr explains his whole philosophy of creating chaos, only to gain more power. But where will he stop? And will his plans somehow cause his own downfall? Will Petyr Baelish himself fall from the ladder and miss out the final climb? We still have to find out. Let’s listen to that awesome speech once again.
THE FINAL TOP 10
10 (1) The Children (Season 4 OST)
From 1 to 10. The Children was last year crowned as the ‘King of the Game of Thrones soundtrack’. Unfortunately, the song wasn’t able to remain at the spot for a second year. ‘The Children’ contains a variation of the Main Theme, Goodbye Brother and Valar Morghulis. It marks the beginning of Arya’s new quest to Braavos. Let’s enjoy once again of this beautiful song, this time sung by Zyrah Rose.
9 (10) Goodbye Brother (Season 1 OST)
‘Goodbye Brother’ is a song from the first season and used when Arya and Jon say goodbye to each other for a very long time. The song’s true meaning only showed up in season 5 when Jon was stabbed to death by his ‘brothers’. It’s nice to see how the title of the song actually works when we found out about Jon’s fate. ‘Goodbye Brother’ is a very emotional song and a lot of people still seem to be attached with it. Perhaps that’s why the song still manages to climb a spot in our top 10.
8 (NEW) Finale (Season 1 OST)
‘Finale’ finally makes an entry! And immediately in our top 10! One of the most memorable scenes in season 1 was the birth of Daenerys’s dragons. The final scene went along with this epic track ‘Finale’. ‘Finale’ contains Daenerys’s main theme, which has been used throughout the series, and the opening song. This beautiful song earned a well deserved place in our top 25. For those who want to see how ‘Finale’ was used in the show, watch the video beneath.
7 (NEW) The Tower (Season 6 OST)
The biggest reveal in Game of Thrones was Jon Snow’s parentage. Bran Stark (and we) were finally able to see what happened inside the Tower of Joy. The track that was played during that scene was ‘The Tower’. I remember when I heard it the first time. It already sent me shivers down my spine. The Tower deserved a good spot in our top 10.
6 (21) Mother of Dragons (Season 2 OST)
The biggest surprise of this list is ‘Mother of Dragons’. I came to the conclusion that Daenerys’s score is rather popular. And to be honest, every season she gets some wonderful tracks. ‘Mother of Dragons’ is another epic example of Daenerys’s themes. Again, this song has the same melody as the main theme of Game of Thrones. The song is used in the second season when Daenerys seeks revenge on Xaro Xhoan Daxos, who planned to have Daenerys and her dragons captured. Daenerys steals all his gold and leaves the city together with her three lovely dragons. Mother of Dragons is this year’s biggest climber. A little extra: the song is also used for the DVD-menu of the second season.
5 (4) The Dance of Dragons (Season 5 OST)
‘The Dance of Dragons’ ended at #4 last year. The first part is a variation of ‘Dracarys’ and isn’t too remarkable at all. The real EPIC part begins at 2:15 in the song. The sudden build-up indicates Daenerys riding Drogon for the first time. And god. We did wait long for that moment. The first time I saw the scene, I had goosebumps. Just like everyone else, I suspect. Let’s enjoy the Dance of Dragons for a last time.
4 (5) Mhysa (Season 3 OST)
One of my personal favorites is ‘Mhysa’. The scene itself wasn’t the greatest moment in Game of Thrones, but the soundtrack that went with it gave me goosebumps. This beautiful song contains the main theme as well. For those who don’t know the meaning of ‘Mhysa. It means ‘Mother’ in Ghiscari. Last year, the song even made it into the top 5. ‘Mhysa’ will always be remembered as one of the greatest songs of the Game of Thrones soundtrack. Those who like to see the final scene of season 3 again, see below.
3 (2) The Rains of Castamere (Season 2 OST)
The main theme of House Lannister is The Rains of Castamere. And of course, this song earns a well-deserved spot in this list as well. The Lannisters are often feared by the other Great Houses and this beautiful but intimidating song makes the picture complete. No one in the realm will ever forget what House Lannister did against House Reyne. ‘The Rains of Castamere’ is performed by the National and first used in the credits sequence of the episode ‘Blackwater’. Did you ever hear ‘The Rains of Castamere’ a capella? Oh man, this song is beyond epic.
2 (NEW) The Winds of Winter (Season 6 OST)
The songs that have been used in the final scenes of Game of Thrones never disappointed us. This year we got ‘The Winds of Winter’ as the final track of the season. ‘The Winds of Winter’ was played during Daenerys’s voyage to Westeros. A moment we have been waiting for since season 1. If you listen closely to the song, you can hear the theme of House Greyjoy. Together with her new allies (Greyjoys/Sand Snakes/Olenna Tyrell), Dany sails to the place where she was born. Westeros.
1 (NEW) Light of the Seven (Season 6 OST)
We have a new king among the tracks of the official soundtrack: ‘The Light of the Seven’. Fresh from the season finale of season 6 and already at the first spot. And to be honest, I saw it coming. ‘The Light of the Seven’ is an exception when we compare it with the other songs. It’s the first time in Game of Thrones that a piano has been part of the soundtrack. The hauntingly build-up to the conclusion of the song together with Cersei’s evil plan was a match made in heaven. I don’t think anyone would be disappointed to see ‘Light of the Seven’ at the top of our list. The scene itself made me think of the notorious scene of the Godfather. That scene together with this soundtrack is just too awesome. Check it out.
Thanks for those who have voted. I hope to see you back next year!
‘The Winds of Winter’ is de laatste aflevering van het zesde seizoen.
Opgelet voor spoilers! Verder lezen op eigen risico.
Cersei Lannister en Loras Tyrell ondergaan hun rechtszaak. Daenerys bereidt alles voor om naar Westeros te vertrekken. Davos confronteert Melisandre. Sam en Gilly komen in Oldtown aan. Bran ontdekt de waarheid van een lang bewaard geheim. Lord Frey krijgt bezoek van een onuitgenodigde gast.
Seizoen 6 zit erop en gaat er met een BOEM uit. En die «BOEM» mag je heel letterlijk nemen. Welkom bij de allerlaatste review van het zesde seizoen.
Tommen maakt zich klaar voor het proces van zijn moeder. Margaery doet hetzelfde voor het proces van haar broer. De High Sparrow daarentegen is erg snel klaar. Hij draagt zijn allerbeste jutten zak voor deze gelegenheid. Cersei draagt een imposant kostuum. De soundtrack verraadt al een beetje dat er ons onheil staat te wachten. Loras zit nog steeds weg te rotten in zijn cel. De Faith Militant komt hem halen voor het proces. Loras Tyrell is een gebroken man. Er blijft maar weinig over van de Loras die we kennen. Loras windt er geen doekjes om en speelt open kaart met de High Sparrow. Loras ziet af van zijn titels en doet afstand van zijn positie. Margaery en haar vader Mace zijn er duidelijk niet goed van. Loras geeft aan dat hij er klaar voor is om zich aan te sluiten bij de Faith Militant. De Zevenpuntige Ster wordt dan ook op Loras zijn gezicht aangebracht zodat hij zich voorgoed aan de eed zal houden. Margaery is razend op de High Sparrow voor het verminken van haar broer. Deze belooft Margaery Loras zijn vrijheid na het proces. Maar eerst moeten ze wachten op de komst van Cersei. Maar waar blijft Cersei?
Tommen staat op het punt om te vertrekken, maar wordt tegengehouden door de Mountain. Er is dus duidelijk iets aan de hand. Margaery voelt het aan en haar gevoel zit alleszins goed. De High Sparrow stuurt Lancel samen met enkele andere broeders naar de Red Keep om Cersei te gaan halen. Lancel ontdekt daarbij een jong kereltje onderaan de Sept van Baelor. Hij vertrouwt het niet en besluit het jongetje te volgen. Pycelle wordt door een Little Bird gevraagd om naar Qyburn’s laboratorium te gaan. Koning Tommen wil hem immers spreken. Pycelle doet wat ervan hem gevraagd wordt en treft er Qyburn aan. Koning Tommen blijkt er helemaal niet te zijn. Qyburn excuseert zich bij Pycelle voor hetgeen er zal gebeuren. Hij geeft toe dat Pycelle het niet verdient om alleen te sterven, ongeacht zijn zonden. Arme Pycelle. Het ziet er niet rooskleurig uit voor die oude maester. De Little Birds halen een mes te voorschijn en vallen Pycelle aan. Pycelle wordt op een wrede manier neergestoken. Lancel ontdekt intussen onderaan de Sept vele kraten wildvuur. Één van de Little Birds steekt Lancel neer. Lancel beseft dus hoelaat het is. Hij sleept zich vooruit en ontdekt daarbij het plannetje van Cersei. Margaery begint ook door te hebben dat er iets serieus verkeerd aan het gaan is. Ze kijkt achterdochtig rond zich heen en merkt op dat zowel Cersei als Tommen niet eens komen opdagen op het proces. Dat Cersei niet komt opdagen; daar kan Margaery nog inkomen, maar Tommen’s afwezigheid baart haar zorgen. Margaery stapt op de High Sparrow af en maakt hem duidelijk dat Cersei iets van plan is en dat het allesbehalve positief zal zijn. De High Sparrow is nog steeds verblind door zijn geloof en lacht Margaery’s waarschuwingen uit de weg. Margaery’s angsten beginnen op te lopen en in een vlaag van woede vertelt ze de High Sparrow hoe ze denkt over de Goden. De High Sparrow kijkt verschrokken naar Margaery en is sprakeloos. Ondertussen doet Lancel er alles aan om een massamoord te voorkomen. Hij probeert het vuurtje dat het hele boeltje zal opblazen uit te blazen. Margaery stapt naar Loras toe en probeert haar familie veilig te stellen. Zonder succes, want de Faith Militant verleent geen doorgang aan degenen die de Sept willen verlaten. Lancel beseft dat zijn pogingen ook tevergeefs zijn en komt als eerste zijn einde tegenmoet. Margaery en de High Sparrow voelen de grond onder zich beven. Beiden beseffen hoelaat het is. Margaery klamt zich vast aan Loras en sterft samen met haar vader, Kevan Lannister en de High Sparrow in de vuurzee. Vanop een afstand kijkt Cersei met een glimlach mee. Tommen daarentegen is sprakeloos en beseft welke schade zijn moeder heeft aangericht.
Cersei brengt een bezoekje aan Septa Unella. Vorig seizoen waren de rollen nog omgekeerd. Nu is het Cersei die Unella vernedert. Cersei geeft inderdaad haar zonden toe. Enkel kan Unella haar nu niets meer doen. De ultieme straf voor Unella is uiterst wreed: de Mountain mag met Unella doen wat die wil. Verkrachting? Mishandeling? Of erger? Het publiek kan zich allerhande dingen inbeelden terwijl we Unella’s schreeuw naar hulp op de achtergrond horen.
Tommen is er kapot van. Hij verloor zijn geloof en de grootste liefde van zijn leven, Margaery. Zijn moeder laat hem daar bovenop nog eens aan zijn lot over. Tommen zet zijn kroon vervolgens opzij en springt uit het torentje. Vaarwel King Tommen.
In de Twins is het vollebak feest. Walder Frey heeft zijn kasteel te Riverrun terug met behulp van Jaime Lannister. Jaime en Bronn spreken over de vrouwen. Walder Frey stapt op Jaime Lannister af en vertelt hem hoe hun vijanden hen vrezen. Jaime is niet bepaald een fan van Walder’s arrogantie en zet hem meteen op zijn plaats. Volgens Jaime zijn de Freys als alliantie waardeloos en veroorzaken ze alleen maar problemen. Walder Frey weet even niet meer wat zeggen.
Qyburn licht Cersei in over de dood van Tommen en toont haar zijn lichaam. Cersei is helemaal niet van streek, maar zag het eerder aankomen. Het lijkt wel alsof ze zich hierop had voorbereid. Ze beveelt Qyburn om Tommen’s lichaam te verbranden en zijn assen te strooien waar de Sept ooit stond.
Samwell en Gilly komen nog eens in beeld. De twee arriveren in het mooie Oldtown waar de Citadel staat. Samwell ontmoet één van de Maesters die zich nogal stijf en arrogant gedraagt. Dezelfde Maester wijst Sam erop dat kinderen en vrouwen niet toegelaten worden tot de bibliotheek. Samwell’s kinderdroom komt uit en hij stapt de wondermooie bibliotheek binnen. Sam’s ogen spreken boekdelen.
De Citadel stuurt zijn witte raven naar allerhande plaatsen in de Seven Kingdoms, waaronder in Winterfell. Jon Snow spreekt er met Melisandre, maar worden onderbroken door Davos. Davos confronteert Melisandre met het speelgoedhertje dat hij vond in het kamp van Jon en Sansa. Melisandre beseft dat Davos Shireen’s doodsoorzaak kent en besluit om de hele waarheid te vertellen. Davos is erg van streek, maar vooral emotioneel omdat hij niet begrijpt waarom Melisandre zo’n lief meisje aan zo’n gruwelijke dood heeft onderworpen. Melisandre wijst Jon en Davos er nog eens op dat zij niet alleen verantwoordelijk gesteld mag worden. Selyse en Stannis gingen allebei akkoord. Ook spoort ze Jon aan om haar in leven te houden. Ze hebben haar immers nodig in de Great War. Davos vraagt Jon voor de executie. Jon kiest voor een minder radicale oplossing: verbanning. Melisandre mag nooit meer een voet in het Noorden zetten als ze wil overleven. Davos belooft Melisandre dat als ze durft terug te keren, dat hij de executie eigenhandig zal uitvoeren. Melisandre vertrekt te paard, terwijl Sansa en Jon over de langverwachte winter praten. Ze denken even terug aan hun vader, Ned Stark, die de woorden ‘Winter is Coming’ steevast gebruikte. Sansa maakt Jon duidelijk dat hij altijd een Stark zal blijven in haar ogen.
Vervolgens zien we een opmerkeliike bijeenkomst in Dorne: Ellaria en de Sand Snakes, samen met Olenna Tyrell. Olenna laat eerst even weten wat ze van de Sand Snakes denkt en krijgt vervolgens een voorstel van Ellaria. Ellaria raadt Olenna aan om samen met hun te werken, nu dat Cersei de oorlog heeft verklaard aan beide huizen. Olenna geeft toe dat haar toekomst haar weinig kan schelen omday Cersei haar al alles heeft afgenomen. Ellaria komt op de proppen met haar tweede argument: ‘wraak’. Hiervoor brengt ze een opmerkelijke gast op de voorgrond, namelijk Varys. Olenna kijkt verschrokken toe.
Daenerys staat op het punt om Meereen (eindelijk) te verlaten. Ze neemt daarbij -op aanraden van Tyrion- een belangrijke beslissing. Ze beslist om Daario achter te laten in Meereen en om hem aan het hoofd van de stad te zetten. Daario windt er geen doekjes om en geeft toe dat hij gekwetst is. Daenerys geeft aan dat ze geen keuze heeft en Daario wel moet achterlaten. Ze zal namelijk moeten trouwen met het hoofd van een andere familie als ze allianties wil sluiten. Dany laat Daario met een gebroken hart achter en gaat een laatste keer naar de Throne Room. Daar wacht Tyrion op haar. Daenerys vertelt Tyrion dat ze best wel schrik heeft voor de volgende stap, zeker omdat ze dit altijd al heeft gewild en dat het moment nu dichter dan ooit is. Vooraleer ze vertrekt benoemt ze Tyrion tot haar Hand en spelt ze hem de pin op. Tyrion wordt er emotioneel van en buigt voor haar.
De gasten in de Twins zijn al even vertrokken en Walder Frey eet verukkelijke taart. Een knap meisje serveert hem. Walder Frey schijnt het meisje niet te kennen, maar klaagt niet. Hij vraagt achter zijn zonen, Black Walder em Lothar. Het meisje geeft aan dat de twee zich al in de kamer bevinden. Walder Frey snapt er niets van. Het meisje wijst vervolgens naar de taart. Walder Frey doet de korst van de taart en merkt op dar het hoofdbestanddeel uit mensenvlees en ingewanden bestaat. Walder moet kokhalzen wanneer het meisje haar gezicht afneemt en zich bekend maakt als Arya Stark. Arya verzekert Walder Frey dat een Stark naar hem zal glimlachen, terwijl hij sterft. Vervolgens snijdt ze zijn keel door. Walder Frey is dood.
In de Godswood van Winterfell ontmoeten Sansa en Littlefinger elkaar weer. Sansa beseft dat Petyr’s hulp met een bepaalde prijs komt en vraagt wat hij nu eigenlijk wil. Littlefinger geeft toe dat hij enkel geïntereseerd is in de Iron Throne met Sansa naast zijn zijde. Sansa schuift zijn idee van de tafel, waar a Petyr haar probeert in te zien dat Jon Snow haar positie aan her inpikken is. Enkel zij verdient het om over het Noorden te heersen.
Verder ten Noorden, namelijk achter de Muur dropt Benjen Meera en Bran kort aan Castle Black. Bran vraagt waarom Benjen niet mee komt, waarop hij antwoordt dat de magie van de Muur hem niet zal laten passeren. Bran ontdekt vervolgens een Weirwood Tree. Hij beseft dat dit de uitgelezen kans is om uit te zoeken wat er zich nu in de Tower of Joy afspeelde.
Bran volgt Ned in zijn visioen en ontdekt dat Lyanna Stark zich ook in het torentje bevond. Lyanna bevindt zich in een kritieke toestand en bloedt bijna dood. Ned probeert er alles aan te doen om Lyanna te redden, maar Lyanna aanvaardt haar lot. Ze heeft een laatste wens: haar baby’tje veilig houden uit de buurt van Robert Baratheon. Vervolgens brengt men de baby naar Ned. De baby blijkt Jon Snow te zijn, maar wie is de vader? Robert Baratheon of Rhaegar Targaryen? En indien het tweede nu klopt, betekent dat dan dat Jon een Targaryen is? Vele vragen die hopelijk volgend seizoen beantwoord zullen worden.
Wat een prachtige close-up naar Jon’s gezicht, vergezeld door de ontroerende soundtrack. Jon leidt de discussie tussen de Heren van het Noorden. Jon maakt hen duidelijk dat eendracht macht maakt en dat ze nu eenmaal de aanwezigheid van de Wildlings moeten aanvaarden. Lyanna Mormont wijst enkele Heren van het Noorden erop dat ze Jon in de steek lieten wanneer hij hun hulp het meest nodig had. Daarbij kijkt ze naar Robett Glover, Cley Cerwyn en Wyman Manderly. De heren bieden hun excuses aan. Lord Manderly gaat zelfs zo ver dat hij Jon de ‘White Wolf’ noemt die de Red Wedding gewreken heeft. Hij roept Jon uit tot ‘King in the North’ Niet lang daarna roepen de andere Heren hem uit tot King in the North, waaronder ook Davos en Lyanna Mormont. Littlefinger is de enige die niet enthousiast is en kijkt teleurgesteld naar Sansa. Sansa op haar beurt beseft ook dat ze geen enkel teken van appreciatie heeft gekregen en staart ook naar Littlefinger. Sansa wil duidelijk meer…
Jaime arriveert terug in King’s Landing en treft het in een erbamelijke staat aan. Hij ziet wat Cersei heeft aangericht en snelt naar de Red Keep. In de Throne Room vindt er een ceremonie plaats. Cersei wordt gekroningd tot Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Qyburn is uiteraard benoemd tot haar Hand. Cersei wisselt een koele blik uit met Jaime, die met gemengde gevoelens naar haar kijkt. Voor de eerste keer hebben we een Koningin op de troon. En wat voor een: de Mad Queen Cersei I Lannister.
Theon staart naar zijn vloot. De weg die hij tot nu toe heeft afgelegd, is geweldig. Yara staat naast zijn zijde en de twee vertrekken samen met Daenerys richting Westeros om wraak te nem op hun nonkel, Euron.
Ook de Unsullied o.l.v Grey Worm en de Dothraki zeilen richting Westeros. Varys heeft ervoor gezorgd dat Ellaria Sand en Olenna Tyrell zich hebben toegevoegd aan Daenerys haar zijde. De schepen van beide huizen varen mee richting Cersei. Olenna Tyrell is nog lang niet klaar met Cersei. Daenerys haar trouwste kameraden vliegen natuurlijk ook mee. Dany, Tyrion, Varys en Missandei staan aan het hoofd van het leger en zijn er klaar voor om Cersei’s positie van haar af te nemen. Vaarwel seizoen 6!
We bespreken de seizoensfinale aan de hand van de criteria. De verhaallijnen in ‘The Winds of Winter’ waren sterker dan ooit en vonden zelfs hun wortels in het allereerste seizoen. 6 jaar lang heeft deze opbouw liefst geduurd. Denk er maar aan Daenerys die naar Westeros wil reizen om de Iron Throne op te eisen. Of aan Jon Snow die zijn moeder wil leren kennen. Cersei’s verhaallijn is de revelatie van de seizoensfinale. Haar ultieme poging tot wraak zet al een duistere toon naar het volgende seizoen toe. Net zoals Cersei, kan Arya haar wraakgevoelens inlossen en vermoordt ze Walder Frey op een gruwelijke manier. Haar verhaallijn in seizoen 6 was eerlijk toegegeven minder sterk. Toch stelde haar laatste scène niet teleur. Al sinds de Red Wedding willen we Walder Frey’s hoofd op een spies zien staan. Samwell komt aan in Oldtown. Zijn verhaallijn in seizoen 6 was vrij beperkt (vergelijken met de andere seizoenen), maar persoonlijk vond ik Sam’s verhaallijn dit seizoen interessanter. De conclusie van de Tower of Joy was erg ontroerend. Cersei op de Iron Throne was een krachtige conclusie in Cersei’s verhaallijn. Qua verhaallijnen valt er dus niets af te keuren. Het acteerwerk is dik in orde. Zelfs de Sand Snakes waren dit keer beter. Ik ben nog steeds geen fan van Dorne, maar met Olenna’s aanwezigheid is het oké. Emilia Clarke’s acteerwerk is een stuk beter in deze aflevering. In the Battle of the Bastards vond ik het nogal houterig. Acteurs an actrices die er deze aflevering bovenuit steken zijn Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell) en Jonathan Pryce (High Sparrow). Het verlies van de laatste twee is dan ook des te zwaarder omdat ze beiden sterke acteurs waren. De opbouw was geweldig en het beste tot nu toe in Game of Thrones. En dan kijk ik vooral naar de ontploffing van de Sept of Baelor. De soundtrack tijdens de eerste vijftien minuten deden ons al vermoeden dat er iets serieus verkeerd aan het gaan is. Over de soundtrack gesproken: ik ben een grote fan van Ramin Djawadi’s werk. De soundtrack is één van de redenen waarom ik GoT zo geweldig vind. De soundtrack tijdens de seizoensfinale was uitzonderlijk goed. Petje af, Djawadi. Er was minder actie aanwezig in the Winds of Winter, maar dat was totaal geen probleem. De vorige aflevering bevatte al genoeg actie en de focus lag hier meer op het verhaal dan op de actie. Na de ontploffing van de Sept werd het weer iets trager, zoals we gewend zijn van Thrones. De aflevering bevatte veel ontknopingen, maar was allesbehalve gejaagd. Een fout die bij de vorige seizoensfinale ‘Mother’s Mercy’ wel gemaakt werd. De cinematografie was top! Hoe de eerste vijftien minuten in beeld werden gebracht, was adembenemend! Enkele noemenswaardige shots: Oldtown en de bibliotheek, Melisandre verlaat het Noorden te paard, Cersei op de Iron Throne, de close-up van Jon Snow en hoe de dood van Walder Frey in beeld werd gebracht. Sapochnik regiseerde ook The Battle of Bastards en Hardhome. Het kwaliteit van zijn werk zegt dus genoeg. De compositie was goed. De focus lag vooral op King’s Landing, wat te begrijpen was. Heel het seizoen lang was er die verschrikkelijke opbouw en (eindelijk) komen we tot de conclusie ervan. Deze is dan ook epischer dan ooit. Dorne werd vlugjes afgehandeld en Varys leek wel een tijdreiziger. De tijd in the Winds of Winter ging dan ook enorm vlug vooruit, vergeleken met andere afleveringen. Dit kan soms wel voor verwarring zorgen bij de kijkers.
‘The Winds of Winter’ was de perfecte afsluiter voor het sterke zesde seizoen van Game of Thrones. We werden zelfs getrakteerd op tien extra minuten. Achteraf gezien was dat ook noodzakelijk geweest. Ondanks de grote veranderingen in het verhaal, was de aflevering totaal niet gejaagd. Het tempo was prima. De cinematografie en opbouw waren puik. Deze seizoensfinale gaf me voldoende voldoening om nog een jaar te wachten op het zevende en tevens voorlaatste seizoen. Ik kijk er alvast erg naar uit.