Admittedly I have a very complicated relationship with this show, but when they pull the right kind of shit you gotta give them credit where credit's due. Just when I thought I was done with their bullshit, they manage to pull me back in. This finale, and funnily from accounts from others the entire sixth season, was actually better than the rest of the entire show (after the first season anyway) combined.
Most of this is because everything is finally coming together. Characters who were being beaten down for seasons are rising to the top, revenge and justice are being served, alliances are being made, storylines and plots were moved forward instead of an afterthought and we're preparing for the final big showdown of the series. The sixth season was about getting ready for that massive payoff, and we actually did get some satisfaction.
First, everything with Jon and Sansa. Initially I was just so happy that they reunited and would've just been happy with their reunion if that's all we had of them. But this season actually delivered at giving us some solid Jon and Sansa interaction, of seeing their growth and it actually helped not just them as characters with their development of themselves and with each other but also with their storyline. All of that moved along rather swiftly. Sansa being determined to reclaim Winterfell, convincing Jon to build an army and fight for their home and to get their little brother back (RIP), and now not only are there Starks back in Winterfell but the North now has rallied behind Jon at being their King. We see Sansa and Jon go through a lot of development this season, and in this finale after everything they are still standing side-by-side together in the North. Just, everything about their relationship is so beautiful and I am so thankful that they didn't fuck anything up with them. The only thing that is creating tension is Littlefinger, but Sansa knows that Littlefinger isn't trustworthy, she said so herself. She is playing the Game, after all, and I think Littlefinger will meet his demise soon enough by her hand.
R+L=J HAS OFFICIALLY BEEN CONFIRMED! (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧
For those who don't know, this means that Jon is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. This has been a popular fan theory for literally decades, as there is so much compelling evidence in the books supporting this particular theory and book fans have been waiting for so long. It's interesting though that it's the show that first revealed this rather than the books, but I imagine that (assuming that GRRM doesn't back down from this reveal in defiance against the show and fan expectations) the reveal will be approached differently in the final two books, but regardless this is one payoff that satisfied so many people, myself included.
As for Jon being King in the North, I know some people are either confused or upset about that particular scene since Jon in the books fully acknowledged that Winterfell and the North belong to Sansa. But I think this is a good strategy, at least where we are in terms of the show. While we know good and well that Jon doesn't want to be King and he doesn't want that kind of responsibility, and that he has a bigger destiny to fulfill, he actually has more people rallying behind him now. And the North needs a battle leader at the moment, and especially since Jon knows what is coming he'll definitely use this to his advantage of going after the Others. He'll use this brief time of being King in the North to lead and complete what he was destined to do and after all that is done, he'll pass along the title of ruler to Sansa, who will reign the North during times of peace. This is the endgame I believe will happen, both in the show and in the books.
Arya killing Walder Frey and getting revenge and sweet justice for the Red Wedding was absolutely brilliantly done. Using another face to be the servant girl and serving up Walder's sons to him in the pie, taking off that face to reveal herself and basically serving up the biggest justice. Arya is basically a swift killer now, she is taking down those on her list and it's going to be fantastic. Both Arya and Sansa upped themselves in their positions of power in their own ways, and it's glorious to see. I honestly really want Arya to arrive at Winterfell sometime next season and see Jon and Sansa there together, and I want another happy reunion. We are only down to four Stark children now: Sansa, Arya, Bran and Jon, and they are all incredibly important to the plot and I just want all of them together again, stronger than ever.
Cersei going absolutely mad and using wildfire to murder everyone in the Red Keep was rather shocking, but not unexpected. We knew that the prophecy told to her would basically drive her to madness, but of course just the sheer amount of what she needed to do was unbelievable in the best and worst way. Just the fact that she orchestrated that, watching the Sept burn while drinking her wine and then later being crowned Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Cersei got what she wanted, but she also lost the only good thing she had. Tommen, and basically all of her children. They were the things that grounded her the most, and now they're all dead. Cersei always placed her children first, and now she has nobody but herself and she is only looking out for herself. And now everyone is at the mercy of Cersei Lannister, who is perhaps the most hated and feared person right now and is going to have to answer for what she has done. As a character, Cersei is quite complex, her backstory and her motivations are driven by this prophecy and her paranoia grew so much that she needed to get what she wanted by any means, also fueled by the Walk of Atonement. You either love to hate her or absolutely despise her, there is no in between. No matter what, she is a fascinating character to watch as her arc unfolds, and her comeuppance will come soon enough.
Other moments from the finale:
++ Funny that the show gave us "The Winds Of Winter" before the actual The Winds of Winter book was released. Instead of releasing chapter excerpts, GRRM, maybe you should just published the damn book already. Just saying.
++ I'm rather sad about Margaery. She was the most sensible person in King's Landing at that point and I was waiting for her cunning plan of deceiving everyone, especially with killing the High Sparrow, but she ended up dead anyway along with everyone else. I loved Margaery as a character, though I have to remind myself that what happens in the show may not necessarily happen in the last two books. (At least now I hope that Natalie Dormer will stop constantly kissing the show's ass and misunderstanding the legit criticism people have with it.)
++ I admit that I'm not the biggest Daario fan (esp in the books) but I much preferred Version 2.0 in the show because I really like the actor. So I'm rather sad that he'll no longer be on the show, but hey, at least he can now return to Orphan Black!
++ Daenerys making Tyrion the Hand of the Queen was a sweet moment. I actually really enjoy their interactions. It's one of the best things about this season is seeing other characters who never shared a scene before actually interacting and having development in their individual story arcs. Daenerys and Tyrion joining forces makes me very hopeful for Jon joining them later. I mean, that last shot of Daenerys with her armies and other alliances (Martell and Tyrell flag/banners on the other ships), it has me so incredibly hyped for what is to come, but also rather scared at the same time for what may happen. As Tyrion said, she is now entering the Game, and it's a Game that is ruthless to its core and not everyone will come out alive.
++ Lyanna Mormont is MVP and HBIC. Bless this child and everything she says and does. ♥
++ The Citadel armillary sphere = what we've seen in the title sequence for six seasons.
++ This interaction:
Jon: I'm not a Stark.
Sansa: You are to me.
I MEAN. JUST. (✿◠‿◠) Everything about Sansa/Jon this season was absolutely sweet and beautiful, their development was the best thing ever. I love their chemistry, their interactions with each other, and I'm just over the moon with everything surrounding their relationship. ♥
Overall: As I mentioned, I have a very complicated relationship with this show, I haven't been impressed with it over the last few seasons for numerous reasons. But somehow this season managed to really get me interested with what has been happening. Perhaps it's because they're not really following the books anymore, and only following specific points in which future books may go into later on and just doing their own thing, maybe it's characters who never shared scenes together finally meeting each other, maybe it's because after all this build-up of things being promised things are finally paying off, maybe it's because there was no unnecessary rape or violence against women this season in comparison to the rest of the show, perhaps it's a combination of all of the above. While I don't think the show deserves a pat on the back for not having rape/nudity/exploitation of women this season, I do appreciate that this season was about women taking control. Women were the winners in this season, in some form or another, whether rising in positions of power or being wise and cunning in playing the game and getting shit done. The last two episodes of the season really solidified that. I'm hoping that it continues that streak because, honestly, this is the kind of show I want.