Game of Thrones, remember that? I was doing a super timely review thing after each ep and then thought it would be extra awesome to wait weeks after the final episodes before finishing it off. Yes. I didn’t forget. That would be silly.
BUT GOSH. If you can remember what happened in the last two eps of this season you’ll be remembering several hours of awesome. Season Six seemed super keen on paying off years of telly-watching, and nowhere was it more satisfyingly done than in these final two episodes. SUCH PANDERING. MUCH LOVE.
I went into Battle of the Bastards pretty hyped after seeing the trailer. Swords! Fighting! Sansa! And, lo, it was almost as much as my dizzying expectations expected. Which sounds like a backhanded compliment, but it’s not, I promise. It’s just every year the show has wowed with an even more awesome battle in the final weeks and so I thought it would do so again, but no. While there is no doubt this is a superb piece of on telly fight-y goodness, it didn’t quite eclipse the joy of watching last year’s Hardhome. Yes, even with the fact there were two battles happening, and one of them had dragons.
But twas smashing nonetheless. After the dragons doing SOD ALL for five years, seeing them soaring about the place, tearing up the battlefield was sublime. MORE OF THAT. And then Yara turning up in Dany’s throne room? BE STILL MY HEART. That scene between the two of them was everything I could have asked for. Two of my favourite characters, two women who fight wars in a patriarchal society, but two very different sorts of leader, bloody marvellous. Also PLEASE let Yara meet Sansa, and Cersei. And OH I rly don’t want her to die, even though I think she’s going to at some point, she should get to be Queen of the Seas.
Then what happened? SANSANESS. Also, other people. Like poor Rickon. Oh. That was a bit brilliant. Sadistically brilliant. And lolsome. I know, I’m a terrible person, but I did laugh; shusht, it’s okay, this is fiction. But rly, what a great way to use Rickon. He’s a cypher at this point, the kid brother they lost for years. The audience doesn’t give a dickens about him, and since his fate had to be dealt with at some point, let’s use it to advance the characters of two people we do care about, horribly. Sansa is ridiculous in her awesome here: I love how she’s completely right about Ramsay, but she struggles to articulate exactly what she’s trying to warn Jon against (basically, he will try and make you angry, don’t let him do it, don’t let him anger you into doing something stupid, which is just what happens.)
Also loled at Ramsay’s Edward I schtick in Braveheart of firing arrows into his own soldiers cause they’ll also hit the enemy.
And, damn this battle was *vicious*. Like, claustrophobic and dirty, violent in a chokingly visceral way. More than any other battle I’ve seen on the telly, it feels like it’s replicating the disorentiating terror and confusion of ye olde medieval large scale engagements.
Where it lost me a bit was when Ramsay’s ROMAN LEGIONAIRRES marched onto the field with their SHINY HELMETS and PERFECT FORMATION. Rly? RLY? Where did they come from? Where have they been training their little hearts out? That caused a serious knock in my suspension of disbelief because the professionalism and style of those guys was yelling ROMANS at me, when we’re in the pseudo-15th century otherwise, including all the battles up to this point.
One thing I was totally cheering the heck out of, but can completely understand if *this* is the bit you’re not so keen on as they did the eaxt some thing last year with Stannis, is when the Arryn knights sweep in to win the battle for Jon and Sansa. I might have cried, shusht. And I loved that it looks like they were trying to get the Arryn people all of the whitest horses they could find for SYMBOLISM.
Ramsay’s end. That worked for me. Like immensely. I wanted Sansa to have some serious revenge, and she got it. And, oh, I LOVE HER. I love every moment she’s had this season. Every moment of happiness, every ally she’s found, every triumph she’s had. I know those GITS are all cheering for bloody Jon Snow at the end, but WHATEV. Sansa is Queen.
And the Stark banner falling over the walls of Winterfell. Yes. I cried again. Shusht.
So after all that magnificence, I assumed the next episode would be a little more low key, a little bit of catch your breath as the season ends. BUT NO. It decided it would continue with the DELICIOUS AWESOME, but now in a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FLAVOUR. I don’t think telly ever pandered to me so well before, it was ridiculous. Every episode with Cersei, I’ve ended up yelling “Burn it down!” at her. I might have mentioned that once or twice in previous blogs, and then SHE DOES. SHE ACTUALLY BURNS IT ALL DOWN. Or up, whatev. Close enough. The moment when I realised what she was going to do was a truly great moment of telly-watching for me. SUCH JOY. HOW CAN TELLY BE SO GOOD? And oh everything about it, EVERYTHING. From Cersei’s dress, and Lena Headey’s exquisite movements and sipping of wine, to the cracks in Marjaery’s composure, to the Sparrow’s superciliousness that ANY SECOND NOW WILL BE GONE FOREVER. And I love Marjaery, I do, and I’m a big fan of Dormer, but the character was going down at some point. And this was perfect. She’s worked her own plan to get out of a horrific situation, and she’s rescued her brother, and is about to bring down her greatest rival, when Cersei hits the nuke button. And Marjaery KNOWS, she knows something is incredibly wrong and she would have survived if it wasn’t for the inflexible gits of allies that she made who won’t let her out. IT’S PERFECT. No-one is stupid, everyone is in character, AND IT ENDS WITH A BIG BOOM. It’s amazing.
And so the Tyrells are wiped about, save for Diana Rigg, who’s now bent on revenge and heads for Dorne to meet up with Indira Varma. MORE GIDDINESS. I know they can’t win, they’re not the stars, but still. THEY ARE AMAZE.
What else? Arya murders Walder Frey. I don’t know how I feel about that. I mean,it’s fine. And everyone else is getting some revenge on, and it’s abt time that sod died, but still. It felt like a bit whoosh? Though I suppose that is assassination for you. And Arya can face-change! That was very neat. Presumably she gets to do interesting things next season, cause this season was not win for her. SURELY she and Sansa and Jon get to reunite, yes?
AND CERSEI IS QUEEN. REGNANT. That was quite great. Succession laws are fascinating things – we think of male primogeniture being “the norm” in ye olde times, but no. Much more useful was a big fuck-off army and lots of money.
It might have taken SIX YEARS, and DECADES if you are reading the books, but also show watching because stuff actually keeps happening in the show, but Dany finally SETS SAIL TO INVADE WESTEROS. I cheered.
Oh, this season. It is the best. GoT gets a lot of crit for sexist claptrap, which it’s often guilty of, and there are many criticisms I do agree with. But it also has a great array of different sorts of women, with different sorts of power, playing the game of thrones in very different ways. And when you give me numerous interesting women with power in your fiction, it takes a lot to really put me off it. I mean, yes, I would rather I could have that and less sexist claptrap, but here we are, at the end of season six, and all the great characters are women, and all the leaders, bar Jon Snow, are women. There’s a vast conflict coming with Cersei in King’s Landing just crowned Queen regnant, Dany and Yara leading an invasion of Westeros, Olenna Tyrell and Ellaria Sand in Dorne plotting revenge, and Sansa in the north. With Jon Snow. (If you consider this unrealistic, I suggest taking a good look at the leaders of western Europe in the 16th century.) This is my fantasy catnip, people, women wielding political power, and dragons.
So, gosh, yes. Apparently there are only ten episodes left. HOW? I assume they will be perfection. Surely. Yes. OPTIMISM.