Wiki of Westeros

HOTD205 House of the Dragon: Season 2, Ep. 5: "Regent" is now streaming on Max.


Wiki of Westeros
Wiki of Westeros
This page is about the episode. For other uses, see: The Winds of Winter (disambiguation)

"The Winds of Winter"[3] is the tenth and final episode of the sixth season of Game of Thrones. It is the sixtieth episode of the series overall. It premiered on June 26, 2016 on HBO. It was written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and directed by Miguel Sapochnik.


Season 6 Finale. Cersei faces a day of reckoning. Daenerys antes up for the 'Great Game.'[5]


At the Twins[]


Jaime Lannister speaks to Walder Frey.

Jaime Lannister and Bronn arrive at the Twins to celebrate their victory at Riverrun and the alliance between the Freys and the Lannisters. However, Jaime had to ride north from King's Landing to retake Riverrun from The Blackfish with the persuasion of Edmure Tully. Walder Frey nevertheless crows over his victory and tries to build rapport with Jaime, stating that they are both "kingslayers." Insulted by the comparison, Jaime angrily asks him why the Lannisters need House Frey on their side when they cannot control the Riverlands and then leaves the feast and a dumbstruck Walder.

Later, Walder Frey is seen eating dinner in his hall. When one of the servants serves him pie, he does not recognize this servant and immediately questions who she is, slapping her on the behind as he sarcastically wonders if she's one of his progeny. He goes on to gripe about the tardiness of his sons, Black Walder and Lothar Frey, to which the servant earnestly insists that they are already present, directing a confused Walder's attention to the pie. Walder opens the pie and reacts in horror: he has been served the flesh of his own sons, a fingertip with nail still attached visible in the stuffing. The servant removes her face, revealing that she is Arya Stark of Winterfell, come to remind Walder of his crimes and take revenge. Arya cheerfully tells him that the last thing he is ever going to see is a Stark smiling down at him as he dies. Lord Walder is shocked and tries to escape, but Arya seizes and holds him down, then slits his throat, watching with a satisfied smile as the man who murdered her mother, brother, and pregnant sister-in-law, and the last living mastermind of the Red Wedding, bleeds to death.

In King's Landing[]

In King's Landing, everyone is getting ready for the trial of Ser Loras Tyrell and Cersei Lannister. The smallfolk enter the Great Sept of Baelor, along with Queen Margaery Tyrell, Lord Mace Tyrell, and Ser Kevan Lannister. As Grand Maester Pycelle heads to the sept, a small child stops him and whispers something into his ear.

The Sparrows of the Faith Militant bring Ser Loras in first, as the High Sparrow awaits. Instead of having a trial, Loras confesses to his crimes and tells the High Sparrow that he wishes to devote his life to the Faith. The High Sparrow tells him that this would mean that he renounces his family name and his future lordship of Highgarden, but Loras tearfully agrees. The Sparrows then seize Loras and carve a seven-pointed star into his forehead. Mace actually tries to fight his way through the crowd to stop them but Margaery, her voice trembling, holds him back. Shocked, Margaery protests to the High Sparrow for mutilating her brother but the High Sparrow replies that he only promised to allow him to leave after Cersei faces her trial.

Sept of Baelor Destruction Wider Shot, Season 6 Episode 10.

The Sept is blown up with wildfire.

King Tommen prepares to depart the Red Keep for the trial of his mother but Ser Gregor Clegane prevents him from leaving his room. Lancel tells the High Sparrow that Cersei has yet to leave the Red Keep, so the High Sparrow asks him to go retrieve her. As Lancel is walking out, Arthur, one of Qyburn's "little birds", lures him away to the catacombs below the Sept. Meanwhile, Pycelle follows Frances, another little bird, into a room where Qyburn awaits him. Qyburn apologizes to Pycelle for the inconvenience, then multiple children surround Pycelle and begin stabbing him repeatedly to death.

Margaery, realizing something is very wrong since Cersei and Tommen are still not at the Great Sept for the trial, confronts the High Sparrow. She tells him that it's a trap, but he does not listen. Below the Sept, Lancel continues to follow Arthur, who drops the torch that he was carrying. When Lancel goes to pick up the torch, the child stabs him in the spine and runs off. Paralyzed from the waist down, Lancel looks around where he is laying and discovers that there is a cache of wildfire (one of those the Mad King secreted beneath King's Landing as part of his plan to deny the city to his enemies when facing certain defeat at the end of Robert's Rebellion) about to be set off with three candles at the end of the hall. He desperately crawls toward it in an attempt to put the candles out. Margaery tells everyone in the Sept they need to leave immediately, but the Faith Militant block the doors, preventing anyone from exiting. Lancel does not make it to the candles before the wildfire ignites, flooding the tunnels with green flame. In the Sept, the gathered nobles hear the muffled explosions before the fire punches through the floor, burning the High Sparrow down to his bones where he stands, then building to such intensity that the Great Sept shatters and crumbles to rubble, flinging debris far and wide and levelling the city for a mile around.

Tommen stares at Sept s6

Tommen stares at the ruins of the sept, knowing his wife is now dead...

Tommen Baratheon(Lannister) jumps out of his window, Season 6 Episode 10.

...and takes his own life.

Cersei, looking out one of the windows in her room, smiles at the explosion even as the screams of the terrified and dying population shatter the air. Meanwhile, from his own chambers, Tommen stares at the explosion in shock and disbelief. After being informed of the explosion and its casualties, including his beloved wife, Tommen takes his crown off his head, sets it down somewhere and then calmly steps out of the window to his death.

Still feeling victorious, Cersei pays a visit to Septa Unella, who is unconscious and has been strapped to a table. Cersei awakens her by pouring a pitcher of wine on her face as she struggles. She prompts Septa Unella to confess that she enjoyed tormenting her during her imprisonment, not for the sake of the gods, but because it felt good. Continuing her mockery, Cersei smugly goes down a list, "confessing" that she committed her crimes, including her incestuous relationship with Jaime, causing Robert's death, and the massacre of the people in the sept because it all felt good. Finally, Cersei reminds Unella of the promise she made that her face would be the last thing the septa saw before her death, to which Septa Unella stiffly declares that she is not afraid to die. Cersei gleefully assures her that she will not die right away and her torture will last many days and brings in Ser Gregor Clegane, who removes his helmet and begins his work. Walking away and closing the door, Cersei echoes the word "shame" three times, just as Unella did during Cersei's Walk of Atonement while the Septa screams in horror at her fate at Ser Gregor's hands.

After Tommen's body is found, Cersei's triumph is greatly diminished. Standing by his covered remains with Qyburn, she insists on seeing her son's face one last time. Qyburn asks Cersei what she wants to do about funeral arrangements, since the Sept of Baelor is obviously no longer an option. She tells him to burn the body and bury the ashes where the Great Sept of Baelor once stood, so that Tommen may rest with his brother, sister, and grandfather.

Jaime, Bronn and the Lannister army they are leading arrive back at King's Landing, but their looks of triumph turn to those of shock as they witness smoke rising from where the Great Sept and its surrounding districts once stood. Later, Cersei and her Kingsguard enter the throne room, the path to the Iron Throne flanked by Lannister guards. Cersei ascends the steps and stands before the throne. Qyburn, who is now her Hand, proclaims Cersei Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and all the associated titles. He places a crown on her head and she sits down on the throne. The crowd of nobles assembled to witness the coronation glare at her with undisguised hatred, aware of what she did in order to gain power, seemingly professing their loyalty only out of fear of Cersei's wrath, but she has eyes only for Jaime, whose expression is stony. Cersei has achieved her ultimate ambition to become Queen of the Seven Kingdoms - or at least, what little of it the Lannisters still control.

In Oldtown[]

Sam in tower library

Sam in the Citadel's library.

Sam, Gilly, and her son finally arrive at Oldtown, spotting the Hightower, with dozens of white ravens being released, signalling the arrival of winter.

After arriving at a bureaucrat's desk in the Citadel, Sam informs the maester he has been sent by the Night's Watch's Lord Commander, Jon Snow, to be trained as a maester. The bureaucrat, maintaining a deadpan expression, is hesitant because Jeor Mormont and Aemon are recorded as Lord Commander and Maester of Castle Black. Sam awkwardly informs him that the two died before ravens could be sent out. While he arranges for Sam to meet with one of the Archmaesters, he allows him access to the Citadel's library, but sharply bars Gilly and her son from following. As Sam explores the library by himself, he is in awe of the vast collection of books and scrolls.

Beyond the Wall[]

The Winds of Winter 22

Bran sees the vision of his father and Aunt Lyanna.

Benjen drops Meera and Bran off at a grove with a weirwood heart tree in sight of the Wall, as he can go no farther. When Bran asks why, Benjen replies that the magic of the Wall prevents the dead from crossing, such as himself. He plans to do what he can to prepare for the coming war, as he still fights for the living.

After thanking his uncle, who rides off on his horse, Bran turns his attention to the weirwood tree. Meera expresses doubts about his readiness, but Bran insists that he must be the Three-Eyed Raven, and places his hand on the face carved into the tree. He has another vision of the events at the Tower of Joy, right where he had left off before the old Three-Eyed Raven interrupted. Having learned his lesson, Bran does not call after his father, who still turns around briefly before rushing into the Tower. Inside, Ned - followed along by Bran - discovers his sister Lyanna Stark lying in bed with blood-stained sheets, being tended to by a few handmaidens. One of the handmaidens hands a newborn baby to Ned, who takes the child in his arms. A weakened Lyanna whispers to Ned of the baby's identity and the baby is revealed as her son. She begs Ned to promise he'll keep her child safe, as Robert would kill him should his identity be discovered. As Ned looks at his infant nephew, the child's eyes open up to reveal the dark-colored eyes of Jon Snow. Bran realizes Jon is Lyanna's son.

At Winterfell[]

Melisandre and Jon Snow are in Winterfell's main hall, where the latter is reminiscing, when Ser Davos Seaworth angrily strides in and tosses Princess Shireen's burned wooden stag to Melisandre, demanding that she explain herself. At first, she is silent, but as Davos loses his composure, she admits that she convinced King Stannis Baratheon to sacrifice his own daughter to the Lord of Light. She defends herself by saying that it needed to be done because Stannis's forces were stranded by the snows; and that Shireen's parents made the decision as well. Davos quickly dismisses this defense by pointing out they died anyway. He goes on to exclaim that her god is evil and tearfully admits that he loved Shireen Baratheon as his own daughter. Fighting back tears, Melisandre concedes that she made an earnest mistake in believing Stannis was the Lord's Chosen. Davos retorts that because of her mistake, not only did an innocent child die for a lost cause, so did many more good soldiers.

The Winds of Winter 20

Melisandre is told to leave and never to return.

Davos demands Jon's leave to execute Melisandre for her actions. Jon, upon learning of this, asks Melisandre if she has anything to say for herself. She replies that she only followed the Lord of Light and implies that he is also responsible for bringing Jon back to life and insists she can still be of use in the battles to come against the Night King. Still greatly displeased, Jon tells Melisandre to ride south, or he will hang her as a murderer; Davos adds that he will personally execute her if she ever shows up in the North again.

As Jon and Sansa look on as Melisandre is leaving Winterfell, Jon tells Sansa that he has had Eddard and Catelyn's master bedroom prepared for her, though she insists that he should have it. Jon remarks that Sansa is the Lady of Winterfell and because of her they are alive and have Winterfell back. Sansa apologizes for not telling him about Littlefinger's Knights of the Vale. He asks Sansa if she trusts Littlefinger, which she firmly denies. With that, Jon tells her that they have to trust each other because the Starks have many enemies, and then gently kisses her on the forehead. Sansa informs Jon that a white raven arrived earlier; winter has finally arrived, just as Eddard has always promised.

Later, in the godswood, Littlefinger approaches Sansa. She asks him what it is that he wants from her. He admits that he wants the Iron Throne, with her at his side. He moves in to kiss her but she stops him and walks away. Petyr states he has openly declared for House Stark. Sansa reminds him that he has declared for other houses in the past, which didn't stop him from serving himself. He contests that was the past, but he is looking towards the future, adding that she is the future of House Stark. Ever insidious, he asks her who the North should rally behind: a trueborn daughter of Ned and Catelyn Stark, or a motherless bastard born in the south. Sansa considers his words but keeps walking without turning to look at him.

Afterward, at the Great Hall of Winterfell, Lord Yohn Royce speaks against allying the Knights of the Vale with wildling invaders. Tormund counters that they were invited into the realm and thus are not invaders. Jon reminds the assembly that the Free Folk fought side by side with the Northmen and the Knights of the Vale and won, then adds that his father used to say true friends are found on the battlefield. Lord Cley Cerwyn argues that with the Boltons defeated, the war is over and that winter has arrived, the coldest one in a thousand years according to the maesters. He then proposes everyone to ride home and wait out the coming storms. Jon counters that the war is not over and the true enemy doesn't wait out the storm, he "brings the storm." The assembled begin to argue amongst themselves.

Jon Snow is declared King in The North Season 6 Episode 10 Preview.

Jon becomes the King of the North.

At this, Lyanna Mormont stands up and speaks to Lord Wyman Manderly about how his son was murdered at the Red Wedding, yet he recently refused the Stark summons. She then turns to Lord Robett Glover and reminds him how he swore an oath to House Stark, yet refused to aid them in their hour of greatest need. Finally, she confronts Lord Cley Cerwyn, and reminds him that his father was flayed alive by Ramsay Bolton, yet he also refused to aid the Starks. She then adds that both House Mormont and the North remember they have no king but the King in the North, whose name is Stark. She doesn't care that Jon Snow is a bastard, for he has the blood of Eddard Stark; thus he is her king until his death.

The assembled begin to quietly discuss, until Lord Wyman stands up, admitting that Lady Mormont speaks harshly but truly; then adds that, after his son died for the Young Wolf, he ignored Jon's summons to keep more Manderlys from dying for a lost cause but that he was wrong: Jon has avenged the Red Wedding; he is the "White Wolf," the King in the North. He bares his sword and kneels. Lord Robett is the next one to stand up, stating his regret for not fighting beside Jon and asking for forgiveness. Jon humbly says that there is nothing to forgive. Lord Glover turns to the rest of the lords, announcing there will be more fights to come, and that House Glover will stand behind House Stark as it had for a thousand years. He also bares his sword and kneels, hailing Jon as the King in the North. Inspired, the rest of the assembly- including the Lords of the Vale- stands up, following the example and hailing Jon as King in the North - as the Northern lords and Riverlords had done for Robb some years ago. Even Davos joins, declaring his allegiance. Pleased, Lady Mormont watches her elder, male counterparts and cheers. Jon stands up and shares a look with a smiling Sansa. However, Sansa's smile fades as Littlefinger looks at her in a sinister fashion.

In the Water Gardens[]

Ellaria and the Sand Snakes meet with Olenna Tyrell, who is now in mourning after the deaths of her son and grandchildren. After the Queen of Thorns shuts down the Sand Snakes' attempts to speak, Ellaria suggests that they must work together for survival, as Cersei has declared war on both of their factions. Despite expressing her distrust of Ellaria for orchestrating the deaths of Doran Martell and Trystane Martell, the brother and nephew, respectively, of the very same man whom she sought to avenge, Olenna clarifies that her House's future has been taken from her; survival is not what she is after now. Ellaria then promises that an alliance with them will give Olenna her new heart's desire. When Olenna sardonically asks what that is, Ellaria states that it is "justice and vengeance." At that moment, Varys reveals himself, and rephrases: "Fire and Blood."

In Meereen[]

Daario Naharis meets Queen Daenerys Targaryen, reporting that the fleet is nearly ready. He's eager to see how the Dothraki do on the open sea. Daenerys says that Daario won't be joining them, which Daario interprets to mean that he will go on to seize Casterly Rock to cut off the Lannister retreat. Dany clarifies that Daario is to stay in Meereen with the Second Sons, to keep the peace until the city can safely choose its own ruler. Furthermore, she cannot bring her lover to Westeros, as marriage is still her most valuable bargaining chip when considering new alliances. Daario begs her to take him, pointing out that kings have lovers on the side all the time, and queens should be no different, but Daenerys stands firm. Daario realizes that Tyrion Lannister convinced her to leave him behind but admits that it is politically a good move. Full of self-pity, he muses that no woman could ever compare to the Mother of Dragons, although she is sure he will have many more lovers. Daenerys assures him that she will leave specific instructions for him to follow in governing the renamed Bay of Dragons. Daario takes his leave.

Daenerys Targaryen Sails to Westeros, Season 6 Episode 10 Preview.

Dany and her fleet head to Westeros.

When he departs, she goes to see Tyrion, who unsuccessfully tries to console her. Dany thanks him, but admits that she is not upset about Daario; rather, she was frightened that she was able to dismiss someone who loves her so much so easily. Tyrion says that Daario wasn't the first man to love Daenerys, and won't be the last. Dany then turns the topic to Tyrion's rule of Meereen in her absence. After defending his actions, Tyrion says that he gave up on believing in himself or in anyone or anything else, but that he believes in her. Touched, Daenerys gives Tyrion a pin she had made for him: the brooch of the Hand of the Queen. Tyrion, struck with emotion, proceeds to kneel in front of her.

Some time later, Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion fly over the assembled Dothraki, Ironborn, Dornishmen, men of the Reach, and Unsullied fleet of House Targaryen. Daenerys, clad in Targaryen black, stands on the deck of the flagship with Tyrion, Missandei, and Varys, looking ahead to the next round of the game of thrones: either the gift of a new ally, or another massive war within House Targaryen for the Iron Throne.


Main page: The Winds of Winter/Appearances





Guest starring[]




Cersei Lannister: "Your gods have forsaken you. This is your god now."

Margaery Tyrell: "Forget about the bloody Gods and listen to what I am telling you."

Lyanna Mormont: "House Mormont remembers, The North remembers."

Lyanna Stark: "His name is [...] If Robert finds out, he'll kill him! You know he will! You have to protect him. Promise me, Ned! Promise me!"

Walder Frey: "You're not one of mine, are you?"
Handmaid: "No, my lord."
Walder: "Didn't think so. Too pretty." [He slaps her rear and gives her a prurient look but his expression quickly turns sour.] "Where are my damn moron sons?! Black Walder and Lothar promised to be here by midday!"

Handmaid: "They're here, my lord."
Walder: "Well, what are they doing? Trimming their cunt hairs? Tell them to come here now."
Handmaid: "But they're already here, my lord." [Walder looks around the hall.] "Here, my lord."
[A bewildered Walder puts down his goblet and peels back the pie crust, reacting in horror as he sees a human finger baked in the pie.]
Handmaid: "They weren't easy to carve. Especially Black Walder."

Walder: [Breathing heavily] "What?"
Arya Stark: [Removes disguise] "My name is Arya Stark. I want you to know that. The last thing you're ever going to see is a Stark smiling down at you as you die."

Jon Snow: The war is not over. And I promise you, friend, the true enemy won't wait out the storm. He brings the storm!

Qyburn: "I now proclaim Cersei of the House Lannister, First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms. Long may she reign!"

Davos Seaworth: "I loved that girl like she was my own! She was good, she was kind and you killed her!"
Melisandre: "So did her father. So did her mother. Her own blood knew it was the only way!"
Davos Seaworth: "The only way for what?! They all died anyway! You told everyone Stannis was the one, you had him believing it, all of them fooled, and you lied!"

Melisandre: "I didn't lie! I...I was wrong."

Davos Seaworth: "Aye, you were wrong. And how many died because you were wrong?"

Davos Seaworth: [to Melisandre] "If you ever come back this way...I will execute you myself!"

Olenna Tyrell: "The last time a Tyrell came to Dorne, he was assassinated. A hundred red scorpions, was it?"
Ellaria Sand: "You have nothing to fear from us, Lady Olenna."
Olenna: "You murder your own prince, but you expect me to trust you?"

Obara Sand: "We invited you to Dorne because we needed your help. You came to Dorne because you needed our help."
Olenna: "What is your name again? Barbaro?"
Obara: "Obara."
Olenna: "Obara. You look like an angry little boy. Don't presume to tell me what I need."
Nymeria Sand: "Forgive my sister. What she lacks in diplomacy, she makes up for..."
Olenna: "Do shut up, dear." [turns to Tyene] "Anything from you?"

[Tyene opens her mouth, but before she can say even one word, Olenna interrupts her.]
Olenna: "No? Good. Let the grown women speak."

Ellaria : "The Lannisters have declared war on House Tyrell. They have declared war on Dorne. We must be allies now if we wish to survive."
Olenna: "Cersei stole the future from me. She killed my son. She killed my grandson. She killed my granddaughter. Survival is not what I'm after now."
Ellaria: "You're absolutely right. I chose the wrong words. It is not survival I offer. It is your heart's desire."

Olenna: "And what is my heart's desire?"
Ellaria: "Vengeance. Justice."
Varys: "Fire and blood."

Behind the scenes[]


  • The episode title is a reference to the name of the unpublished sixth novel in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter.
  • The soundtrack playing over the credits is a rendition of Daenerys's theme. On the official soundtrack release it is titled "The Winds of Winter."
  • With a run time of 68 minutes, this episode was the longest of the television series until it was dethroned by "Beyond the Wall," three minutes longer at 71 minutes.
  • Interestingly, all of Cersei's children died in the same order they were born in, as well as in chronological seasons. Joffrey was Cersei's firstborn son, and he died in Season 4. Myrcella was Cersei's second child, and she died in Season 5. Tommen was Cersei's final child, and he died in Season 6. Tommen and Myrcella also both died in season finales. Furthermore, both Joffrey and Myrcella were killed by poison.
  • In the opening credits, House Stark's direwolf sigil is restored to Winterfell. The Bolton sigil replaced it from Season 5 onward, though the direwolf sigil could be seen broken in two beside the flayed man, and in Season 3 the animation showed Winterfell burning (after it was burned at the end of Season 2 - at the end of Season 3 it was revealed that Ramsay and the Boltons burned it). Thus this is the first time that Winterfell has appeared restored, with the Stark sigil, and not a burning ruin since the Season 2 opening credits.
    • The Twins returns to the opening credits for the first time since Season 3. Oldtown appears in the episode but not in the opening credits.
  • All storylines in the TV series have surpassed the books as of this episode. The TV series adapted certain subplots out of sync with each other. Thus, while Jon Snow's storyline surpassed the books starting in the Season 6 premiere, other major subplots this season such as the Greyjoy subplot and Tully/Frey subplot were holdovers from other novels. Now even these remaining subplots have caught up. The Slaver's Bay storyline surpassed the novels in the preceding episode.
    • Two subplots were omitted from the TV show but won't be introduced now: when Tyrion flees east to get to Meereen it introduces a major new political shakeup happening in the Free Cities, while the Dorne subplot in Season 5 was drastically condensed, then outright abandoned at the beginning of Season 6. Because Dorne is close to the Free Cities, preview chapters for the next novel reveal that the Dorne and Free Cities subplots are going to combine with each other into one big subplot -- all of this was removed in the TV version.
    • Jaime and Brienne each had about another chapter's worth of material involving running into the Brotherhood Without Banners in the Riverlands, but this subplot has also been omitted entirely thus far.
  • With the death of Mace Tyrell, all heads of Westeros's Great Houses at the beginning of the TV series are now dead. The heads of Houses Arryn, Targaryen, Baratheon, and Stark died in Season 1, the head of House Tully in Season 3, the head of House Lannister in Season 4, and the heads of Houses Martell, Greyjoy, and Tyrell in Season 6.
    • This also includes the heads of House Bolton and House Frey, who were elevated to Great House status during the war as a reward for their betrayal of the Starks.
    • This set of leaders had been in place since the end of Robert's Rebellion, which resulted in new leaders for just two Great Houses (Stark and Targaryen). Not even Aegon's Conquest saw this much turnover, resulting in the deaths of three heads of the Great Houses (House Hoare, House Durrandon, and House Gardener, though in fairness, the entire houses went extinct in those cases).
    • Four of the remaining Great Houses are now led by women (Daenerys, Cersei, Olenna, Ellaria), two are divided between male and female leaders (whatever the situation is between Jon and Sansa, and the outright civil war between Euron and Yara), and three are technically headed by men but none of them are in much of a position to lead (the captive Edmure, Littlefinger's puppet Sweetrobin Arryn, and whatever is left of the Freys).
  • Two images from Bran's vision in "Blood of My Blood" appear in this episode: the wildfire exploding through the tunnels under the Sept of Baelor and Ned Stark hand touching Lyanna's Stark's bloody hand.
  • There are multiple parallel scenes between this season finale and the first season finale for the TV series, "Fire and Blood", establishing it as something of a bookend for the intervening five TV seasons:
    • The first scene of both finales focuses on the Great Sept of Baelor during circumstances of a calamitous event. The first finale began immediately after Eddard Stark was beheaded at the end of the previous episode (albeit the full exterior design of the Great Sept wasn't produced until Season 3, but they stated in dialogue that they were at the Great Sept). This finale's first scene is also at the Great Sept, but shows its destruction, and the deaths of many characters.
    • The first finale was the first time that Arya Stark took on a fake persona - one of many she would adopt over the course of the narrative. Yoren quickly pulled her out of the crowd after her father was beheaded, cut her hair short with a knife, and told her to pretend to be a boy ("Arry") so he could take her back north to Winterfell (the Watch doesn't take female recruits and they would be looking for a girl). In this finale, Arya has reached the apex of her skill at fake personas - literally using a shapeshifter mask to look like someone else, in order to take revenge on the Freys.
    • In the first finale, Catelyn confronted Jaime in their army camp after he was taken prisoner, and he was fully embracing his arrogant persona as "the Kingslayer", and dismissing Catelyn's accusations that things like "honor" mean anything in a world as grim as Westeros. Jaime later revealed to Brienne in Season 3 that he actually killed the Mad King for very honorable reasons, but out of pride, he doesn't want to acknowledge that he cares what other people think. In this finale, Walder Frey tries to commiserate with Jaime by saying that they're both "the same" as kingslayers. In contrast to his conversation with Catelyn years before, Jaime is visibly disgusted and ashamed at this, now seeming to think there is such a thing as "honor" in the world (and he doesn't want to be like the honorless Walder Frey).
    • The first finale included a scene of Joffrey sitting crowned on the Iron Throne, terrorizing the royal court by having a musician's tongue cut out in front of them, giving them great concern about their new monarch. This episode similarly has newly crowned monarch sitting on the Iron Throne for the first time: Joffrey's mother Cersei, and the crowd in the royal court is similarly terrified by their new monarch and unenthusiastic (as she just blew up the Great Sept in a prior scene). Joffrey did sit on the Iron Throne once in a prior episode to that (when Eddard was captured in the coup) but he also explicitly said that his coronation had not occurred yet; thus the Season 1 finale was still showing the "newly crowned" Joffrey on the Iron Throne for the first time.
    • The first finale had a scene of Bran Stark going into the crypts of Winterfell, where he pointed out his aunt Lyanna Stark's tomb and statue, and briefly summarized what happened to her: she was promised to Robert but Rhaegar carried her off, and Robert went to war to get her back, but she died anyway (though mentioned since the first episode, this was also the first time that Lyanna's story was summarized to the audience in full). In this finale, Bran is once again dealing with his aunt Lyanna and Rhaegar - by having an extended vision-flashback in which he discovers that Lyanna actually died in childbirth from bearing Rhaegar's son, none other than Jon Snow.
    • The first finale had the scene of Robb being hailed as the new King in the North; this finale directly mirrors this with the scene of Jon being hailed as the next King in the North - several of the Northern lords kneeling to him in turn, then all taking up the shout of "the King in the North!"
    • More loosely, in the Season 1 finale, Catelyn comforted the distraught Robb (after learning of Eddard's death), who said he wanted to kill all the Lannisters. Catelyn reassured him that first, they had to get his sisters back, and then they would kill all of them. This finale is the first episode in which Sansa is shown as safe and in control at Winterfell again, while Arya - though technically free for years - has not only returned to Westeros but exacted vengeance on their other enemies. Meanwhile, the last of Cersei's three children - Tommen - dies in this episode. Thus, by this episode, it all comes full circle: the Stark girls are "back", while "all" of Cersei's own children are dead.
    • Tyrion's subplot in the first finale ended with him being named as the new (acting) Hand of the King by his father Tywin. After rising in power in Season 2 then falling in later seasons until he was just a fleeing exile in Season 5, this finale ends with Daenerys Targaryen once again naming Tyrion as Hand of the King (her Hand of the Queen).
    • The Season 1 finale ended with Daenerys triumphantly hatching her newborn dragons, presaging that the game board had just been altered in a big way and she now had the means to conquer Westeros. The following seasons, however, showed that the reality of this would be slow going, as her dragons needed to grow to maturity and she still needed to acquire an army and experience. Paralleling the earlier finale, this finale closes with Daenerys actually sailing to Westeros, with her now adult-sized dragons, ready to conquer.
  • Season 6 continues the show tradition of killing off at least one king per season: Season 1 -Robert Baratheon; Season 2 - Renly Baratheon; Season 3 - Robb Stark; Season 4 - Joffrey; Season 5 - Mance Rayder and Stannis Baratheon; Season 6 - Balon Greyjoy and Tommen.
  • The number of recurring characters who were killed in this episode (eleven) is greater than in any of the former episodes. Of those, only two characters have died by the point the books reached - Kevan and Pycelle, both killed by Varys in the epilogue of the fifth book; Loras was horrifically harmed during the siege of Dragonstone in the novels, but he is still alive.
  • The episode confirms two fan theories about the novels: the theory that Jon is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, and about the pies which Lord Manderly brought to Ramsay's wedding feast. Both were heavily implied but they haven't been outright confirmed yet.
  • It is the third season finale in a row, in which members of House Lannister are killed: in Season 4 finale - Tywin; in Season 5 finale - Myrcella; in this season finale - Kevan, Lancel and Tommen.

At the Twins[]

  • In the books, Jaime Lannister's army doesn't advance all the way north to the Twins after the siege of Riverrun, and thus he never personally met Walder Frey in the series (but they could have met at some point before the beginning of the series); after leaving Riverrun, his army advances to Raventree Hall, the seat of House Blackwood (earlier episodes in Season 6 did mention in passing that the Blackwoods were also in revolt like the Tullys) - the last stronghold in the Riverlands which has not yielded yet to the Iron Throne. From there, Jaime travels back to King's Landing, but an unexpected encounter with Brienne at Pennytree makes him go elsewhere; it seems Brienne, who was ordered by the monstrous Lady Stoneheart (the reanimated Catelyn Stark) to kill Jaime, reluctantly follows the order to save Pod's life, and is leading Jaime into a trap. The chapter ends with a cliffhanger, which should be resolved in the upcoming sixth novel.
    • Instead of advancing to Raventree Hall as in the books, in the TV version Jaime travels all the way to the Twins, then returns back south to King's Landing. Given his comments to Lord Walder, and because Raventree Hall is between Riverrun and the Twins, it's possible that they're implying the other rebelling Riverlands Houses (Blackwood and Mallister) were subdued again off-screen.
  • When the Twins first appear in the episode and Lord Walder's voice is heard toasting "To House Lannister!", the Lannister soldiers gathered in the feast hall shout back "Hear me roar!" (it is a little indistinct, but confirmed by the subtitles). This is actually the first - and the only time - that the Lannisters' official house words have appeared in a live-action TV episode. As explained in a scene between Maester Luwin and Bran back in Season 1 ("The Wolf and the Lion"), the Lannisters' unofficial motto - "A Lannister always pays his debts" - is much more popular than their official one. That the TV show hasn't used the official motto frequently before is unsurprising: even in the novels, the official motto "Hear me roar!" is typically only mentioned specifically once (chapter 56 of the first novel), in addition to the appendices, just to point out that the unofficial motto is much more popular. Previously the official motto was only confirmed by one of the Histories & Lore animated shorts from Season 1, narrated by Tywin.[6]
    • In the same scene, Lord Walder toasts House Frey, to which others respond "We stand together!" - suggesting that perhaps this is the motto of House Frey (which is unknown even in the current books).
  • Lord Walder says to Jaime that the Starks mocked him for years, and sarcastically remarks, "Where are they now?" - which in retrospect was ironic, as later in the episode it is revealed that the servant girl during that scene was actually Arya Stark in disguise.
  • In interviews, the writers confirmed that the disguised Arya was eyeing Jaime because she didn't expect him to be at the Twins, and was wondering if she should alter her plans to do something about him as well - but ultimately she decided not to risk altering her original plan to kill just the Freys, particularly because Jaime was never actually on her kill list. Despite being Cersei's own brother, Jaime was never directly involved in any of the worst crimes against Arya's family: he was already captured when her father was executed by Joffrey and he had nothing to do with the Red Wedding. Though Jaime was responsible for crippling Bran, something that planted the seeds for the Stark-Lannister conflict, Arya remains unaware of this.
    • Ironically, in A Storm of Swords, Roose says "Jaime Lannister sends his regards" when he kills Robb, even though Jaime was not involved in the Red Wedding at all (since Jaime did send his regards through Roose, though sarcastically and unaware of what was coming).
  • When Lord Walder speaks to Jaime, he mocks him by stating that the only battle Jaime fought in in the War of The Five Kings was the one that he was defeated and captured in, which was the Battle of Whispering Wood. However, this is incorrect. Before he was captured, Jaime had previously fought in a battle in the hills below the Golden Tooth, where he had defeated the Riverlords, and then proceeded to lay siege to Riverrun. This battle was actually mentioned in Season 1 by Kevan, though it happened off-screen. Of course, in-universe Walder is probably getting his facts a little condensed together for the sake of making a wry comment at Jaime.
  • Jaime's disgust is palpable when Lord Walder says that they're both the same as kingslayers. This may be shifted around somewhat from a similar incident in the novels, when the Freys at the siege of Riverrun say that the knights who accompanied Lord Piper's son to the Red Wedding were "traitors and rebels". Jaime scorns them by reminding them that the Freys also took up Robb's cause, then betrayed him - and that makes them twice as treacherous as Lord Piper. Jaime enjoys seeing his words make Edwyn Frey's smile fade.
    • Technically, Jaime may have broken guest right when he threw Bran Stark out a window in the first episode of the TV series, "Winter Is Coming" - though Bran was a member of his host's family, not his host, and he didn't attack him literally as he was a guest at the Stark's table, the way that Walder did to Robb.
  • Arya feeding Walder Frey his own sons to him baked in a pie is a reference to a larger subplot in the novels, the infamous "Frey pie" incident, which takes place in the North and doesn't involve Arya. Wyman Manderly - who actually appears in this episode - grudgingly had to feign peace with the Lannisters and their Frey allies, but was planning to pay them back for his son's death. A large contingent of Frey soldiers in the books accompany the Boltons into the North to help them grind down the surviving lords. Three of them are sent as envoys to White Harbor but disappear soon afterward. Later, during the Ramsay Bolton's wedding feast at Winterfell, Wyman gleefully serves the remaining Freys and the Boltons three large meat pies, and to assure them that they aren't poisoned, he happily eats large portions of each himself. Wyman enjoys the pies so much that he needlessly takes a second helping of each, even after he already convinced the Freys and Boltons they aren't poisoned. When they ask Lord Manderly where the three missing Freys are, he answers innocently (or feigns innocence) "The road has many dangers, ser. I gave your brothers guest gifts when we took our leave of White Harbor. We swore we would meet again at the wedding. Many and more bore witness to our parting".
    • Lord Manderly has given two clues about his deed, that no one seems to understand: first, he emphasized the point of giving the missing Freys guest gifts - afterward, they were no longer protected by the guest right, and he was free to do with them as he pleased. Second, he asked "Abel" the bard to play the song about the Rat Cook.
    • Feeding Lord Walder a pie containing his own sons, (in the TV series only - in the books he is not present at the feast), may be an in-universe reference to the legend of the Rat Cook, which Bran Stark brought up in Season 3. The Rat Cook was a member of the Night's Watch who felt insulted by a visiting king, so he broke Guest right by killing the king's sons and feeding them back to him cooked into a pie. For this the gods cursed him by turning him into a rat, doomed to eat his own young. In the TV version Bran brings this up right after the Red Wedding, insisting that violation of guest right (as Walder Frey did) is the one thing above all others that the gods will punish.
    • Out of universe, the "Frey pie" incident with Lord Manderly from the novels may be a reference to the infamous climax of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, in which Titus avenges himself on Tamora by killing her sons Chiron and Demetrius and feeding them back to her baked into a meat pie ("Why there they are! Both baked in that pie!...")
  • In the novels, after the Freys take Riverrun several of Lord Walder's more prominent sons are given possession of the castle - but among the servants is the singer Tom of Sevenstreams, a member of the Brotherhood Without Banners, hinting that the Brotherhood is going to orchestrate it's own reverse-Red Wedding, to ambush and kill the Freys inside Riverrun. When she eventually returns to Westeros, Arya Stark may indeed link up with the Brotherhood again and help them take revenge on the Freys: obviously, certain scenes have been condensed and moved around, but it is unclear how large of a condensation it is that Arya will personally kill Walder Frey (for all anyone knows, she may in fact personally kill him in the next book).
  • Arya also killed Walder's two most prominent sons in the TV series, Lame Lothar Frey and Black Walder Rivers. Lord Walder has several dozen descendants, about a dozen of whom are prominent recurring characters in the novels, but their actions were understandably condensed into just these two in the TV version. Lame Lothar is the Steward of the Twins and his father's right hand, coordinating the day to day activities of the castle; Black Walder Frey and Walder Rivers are two of their prominent army commanders (condensed in the TV version into just one character, "Black Walder Rivers"). In the novels, all three of them are still alive.
    • In the novels, several characters express their fear that when old Lord Walder eventually dies, it will lead to a fratricidal bloodbath within House Frey, as different internal rivalries play out for who will rule. Similarly, in the TV version, House Frey continues to exist in some fashion: Lord Walder has numerous descendants and Arya didn't kill them all. Still, she has taken revenge on those most directly responsible for planning and carrying out the Red Wedding in the TV version, and decapitated House Frey's central leadership. With the loss of not only Lord Walder but also his two most trusted sons, the TV version of the Freys may dissolve into infighting as well.
    • With the deaths of Lord Walder Frey, Lame Lothar Frey, and Black Walder Rivers, it is unclear who exactly is the current head of House Frey. Walder's eldest son and heir Stevron Frey was introduced with speaking lines in Season 1; Stevron later died in the second novel, however, at the Battle of Oxcross. Stevron didn't reappear after Season 1 so it was never established if he actually died "off-screen" in Season 2 at Oxcross as he did in the books. After Stevron's death in the novels, the heir to the Twins is Stevron's elder son Ryman; after Ryman is killed by the Brotherhood, his elder son Edwyn is the heir, but he fears that his younger brother Black Walder will kill him to take his place; the TV show has condensed this even further. No other named legitimate Frey sons or grandsons have been formally introduced on-screen.
  • Walder Frey directly states that Arya's uncle Edmure Tully is for the moment being kept in the dungeons at the Twins - even though Jaime promised him gentle imprisonment at Casterly Rock (perhaps he meant in the long term). It's possible that next season will begin with Arya descending to the lower levels of the castle and freeing her uncle Edmure.
    • Even in the books, readers have pointed out that it may be complicated to kill all members of House Frey, given that many of them are women and children who had nothing to do with the Red Wedding, and particularly, Arya's own uncle Edmure recently fathered a child with Roslin Frey (he hasn't been born yet in the books but enough time passed in the TV version that he has). Thus Arya can't truly kill every single Frey without murdering her own first cousin and making herself a kinslayer.
  • With the death of Walder Frey, all three of the architects of the Red Wedding are now dead. Each of them died violently, but ironically, Walder Frey was the only one that a Stark directly took revenge on. Both Tywin Lannister and Roose Bolton were later killed by their own sons for unrelated reasons.
  • Arya avenges her mother Catelyn's death by killing Walder Frey the same way that her mother died, having her throat slit, in the same room that her mother died as Walder looked on, and killing her mother's actual murderer Black Walder. She also avenged her pregnant sister-in-law by killing Lame Lothar. It is not made clear if Arya knew about Talisa but it's possible she could have found out while in her servant disguise.
    • Both of the main participants at the Red Wedding itself, Walder Frey and Roose Bolton, died in ways mirroring how they killed the Starks during their betrayal. Arya slit Walder's throat after serving him food, and at the beginning of the season, Roose's own son Ramsay embraced him and stabbed him in a shot visually paralleling how Roose stabbed and killed Robb Stark. The mastermind of the massacre, Tywin Lannister, was shot and killed with a crossbow just like Grey Wind and many wedding guests were.
    • In all irony, despite all the men who had been killed at the Red Wedding as well as the deaths of Robb's wife and unborn child, Lady Catelyn swore to Walder Frey that if Robb was spared, she would give herself up as a hostage to ensure the Starks would take no revenge against the Freys and Boltons for their crimes, which would have been plausible since the bulk of the Stark army had been annihilated in one night. Walder refused and had both Robb and Catelyn killed, which led to Arya Stark taking revenge by slitting Walder's throat. With Jon Snow retaking Winterfell and the last scion of House Bolton being fed to his own hounds, it turns out that the Starks ultimately did take revenge for the Red Wedding, against both the Boltons and Freys, as Catelyn implied would happen if Robb was killed.
    • Another factor that makes Arya's killing of the three Freys all the more ironic is that Catelyn and Robb had agreed Arya would marry another one of Walder's many sons, Waldron, in order to secure an alliance with House Frey back in Season 1.[7]
  • Back in Season 2, when Arya was hiding her identity at Harrenhal by pretending to be a peasant refugee, Tywin Lannister recognized that she wasn't actually a commoner because she didn't talk with a lower-class accent. As Tywin explained, the commoners lack the education of more highly-born people and nobles, so they tend to make grammatical mistakes and compress words together: thus they typically say the slurred "m'lord" instead of clearly pronouncing two separate words "my lord". It is unclear if this was intentional but in this episode, when Arya is wearing her shapeshifter mask to look like a serving girl (and is played by a different actress), she clearly pronounces "my lord" as two separate words when she speaks, the way a highborn does - perhaps a subtle hint early on that the serving girl wasn't what she seemed.

In King's Landing[]

  • Cersei Lannister's storyline has surpassed the novels, but it is indeed possible that she will kill the High Sparrow and the Tyrells in this manner. She won't kill her uncle Kevan this way because in the books, he was killed along with Pycelle - and by Varys. Cersei and Qyburn had nothing to do with their deaths.
    • In the books, Tyrion actually gathered up all of the old wildfire caches around the city to use in the Battle of the Blackwater, but Cersei did commission the Alchemists' Guild to keep producing increasingly large quantities, which she later used to burn the Tower of the Hand to the ground, becoming almost erotically excited at the sight of it burning - hinting at developments in future books. Thus in the books, the wildfire caches were removed but Cersei would probably replace them, while in the TV version, they simplified the plot mechanics to just have the original wildfire caches always there.
    • The rumor which Qyburn tells Cersei in "No One" is revealed in this episode: Aerys's wildfire plot.
    • Perhaps it is ironic that Cersei committed a similar atrocity (though in much smaller scale) to the one that her brother Jaime prevented years ago by killing the Mad King, who sought to destroy the entire city by using wildfire.
    • In the fifth novel, Ser Barristan Selmy tells Daenerys that her father lusted after Joanna Lannister and acted indecently at her bedding. Based on that, there is a fan theory that Aerys slept with Joanna (with or without her consent), and he is the father of Jaime and Cersei, or Tyrion's.
      • There are many hints scattered in the books that may support the theory:
        • One of Tyrion's main interests is the study of dragons.
        • Tyrion's mother, similarly to Daenerys and Jon, died giving birth to him.
        • Joffrey had many negative traits that Aerys and others who carried the Targaryen madness strain also had. Joffrey could have inherited that strain via Cersei, who is also somewhat mentally unstable and capable of homicide and sadism, though on a smaller scale.
        • Tyrion called Joffrey "Aerys the Third".
        • Tywin told Tyrion "Men's laws give you the right to bear my name and display my colors since I cannot prove that you are not mine".
        • The last sentence Tywin told Jaime and Tyrion was "you are no son of mine", almost in the same words.
        • Genna Lannister, Tywin's sister, told Jaime "Tyrion is Tywin's son, not you".
      • Cersei's act of destroying the Great Sept of Baelor with wildfire in this episode may also support (but not confirm) the theory.
        • In the fourth novel, Cersei destroys a building in King's Landing using wildfire - the Tower of the Hand. The residents are forewarned of the demolition, it is performed in a controlled manner, and no one gets harmed. Curiously, when Jaime hears about Cersei's intention, he tells her "Now you sound like Aerys", and she feels excitement watching the tower being destroyed - perhaps in parallel to Aerys (her father?), who was aroused by watching people burnt to death at his command.
  • There was a large amount of foreshadowing in the TV series that Cersei would destroy the Great Sept with wildfire:
    • When Olenna left King's Landing, she pointed out that Cersei had lost all of her allies, had nothing left to offer anyone, and ended by bluntly asking if Cersei was just going to try to kill everyone as her only remaining option. As it turned out, Cersei did just resort to assassinating all of her enemies in the city - ignoring the long-term political backlash this will cause.
    • Jaime remarked to Edmure that Cersei loves her children so much that she would burn cities to ashes to keep them safe. Jaime was being figurative and didn't know what Cersei was planning to actually detonate a massive explosion in King's Landing to destroy the Great Sept.
    • In the preceding episode, Tyrion rather prominently reminded the audience about the wildfire cashes stored throughout the city when he revealed their existence to Daenerys, pointing out how ruthless and evil her father was.
  • The very first scene depicting the Great Sept of Baelor on-screen back in Season 3 mentioned wildfire, and this may have been an intentional hint about its later destruction. In episode 3.4, "And Now His Watch Is Ended" Joffrey was giving Margaery a tour around the Great Sept, and he mentioned that Aerion Targaryen's remains are stored there - explaining that Aerion died from drinking wildfire in a moment of drunken folly, thinking it would transform him into a dragon (and he was wrong). George R.R. Martin did tell the showrunners as early as Season 1 what the broad strokes of storylines from future novels were going to be, so they must have known about something as significant as Cersei blowing up the Great Sept with wildfire in the future.
  • Throughout Seasons 5 and 6, characters have used the phrase that "The Crown and the Faith are the twin pillars that hold up the realm" to urge why the Iron Throne needs to remain allied with the Faith of the Seven: if one falls, so will the other. It's not clear if this was an intentional visual cue by the director, but notice that when Cersei watches the destruction of the Great Sept, the camera shot is framed in such a way that she is watching it from between two pillars. Similarly, the window in Tommen's room is framed by two pillars, when he commits suicide by walking out of it. With the metaphorical pillar of the Faith destroyed, Cersei is dooming the other pillar of the Iron Throne itself: specifically resulting in Tommen's death, but more broadly, shattering her already weak hold on power. One of the reasons Tommen killed himself is that he realized no one would ever support the Lannisters' hold on the Iron Throne again after committing such sacrilege.
  • Margaery Tyrell's death is a major spoiler for the next novel. There was no hint or indication that she would die. There is no explicit confirmation that this will occur in the next book, though it seems unlikely that the TV show would kill off such a major character if she didn't also die in the books.
  • Cersei probably won't kill Loras Tyrell in this manner, though he does indeed receive mortal burn wounds in the latest novel. In the fourth book, Euron Greyjoy begins attacking the west coasts and is threatening Highgarden itself, so the Lannister-Tyrell alliance needs to move its fleet west to intercept them. The problem is that their fleets are still tied up besieging Stannis's remaining garrison at Dragonstone island. Realizing he needs to force a quick end to the siege at Dragonstone to save his homeland, Loras boldly volunteers to Cersei that he will lead the assault. Cersei, being aware how rash Loras is, is only too happy to agree, knowing full well that it will be a bloodbath and she hopes he gets killed. Loras's performance in the ensuing battle at Dragonstone leaves many in awe: Aurane Waters tells Cersei that he never saw a braver knight. Towards the end, however, Loras became badly wounded: he was shot by two arrows, a mace blow broke some of his ribs, and then he was trapped under an archway from which the enemy poured boiling oil on him. Loras was horrifically burned over most of his body and not expected to live. On the other hand, by the end of the fifth novel, Loras has stubbornly managed to cling to life - barely - against all odds and all predictions of the maesters, so it is not clear if he will pull through. Ultimately, however, in both the books and TV series, Loras ends up being horrifically burned.
    • Note that Loras's father Mace Tyrell doesn't react negatively to him confessing that he had sex with Renly and is a homosexual, but instead Mace is so horrified at the Faith Militant carving their symbol into Loras's forehead that Mace instinctively tries to rush to his son's aid and has to be physically restrained. While it is somewhat unclear in the books, George R.R. Martin has mentioned that Loras's entire family including his father know he is a homosexual but they simply don't care. It is unclear how typical this attitude is compared to other regions of Westeros or even within the Reach, although Olenna's flippancy in "The Climb" implies that the Reach might have a winking tolerance for it, at least in private. Nonetheless, unlike the internal rivalries among the Lannisters and Baratheons, or to a lesser extent the Starks earlier (the Sansa-Arya rivalry and the friction around Jon's bastard status), all of the Tyrells loved each other and got along very well.
  • It is unclear who the heirs to House Tyrell actually are in the TV continuity at this point. Olenna Tyrell only vaguely mentions that with the deaths of her son Mace and her grandchildren Margaery and Loras, Cersei took away her "future". In the novels, they actually have two older brothers, Willas and Garlan, who were omitted from the TV continuity, as Loras was repeatedly said to be the current heir to his father. Moreover, as a large and powerful Great House, in the books, they have numerous cousins and second cousins who hold various positions within their reign over the Reach.
    • Tyrell Lady new

      Olenna can't be literally the last Tyrell: other Tyrell cousins exist in the books and were even introduced in the TV series.

      The TV continuity technically did acknowledge that other minor Tyrell cousins exist, and they are direct descendants of Olenna. Back in Season 3 episode 4 "And Now His Watch Is Ended", an unnamed Tyrell handmaiden - credited only as "Tyrell lady" - actually had a speaking line in which she showed her embroidery to Olenna and asked, "Do you like it, Nana?" - i.e. directly stating that Olenna is her grandmother. In the books many of the minor Tyrell cousins serve as handmaidens to the main members of the family, thus it was always somewhat implied that the background handmaidens that appear in the TV show are actually Tyrell cousins. This "Tyrell lady" was never formally named, but the eldest of Margaery's cousins who serve in her retinue as handmaidens is Elinor Tyrell.
    • Of course, given that Mace Tyrell was in the Great Sept with his entire retinue along with Margaery to observe Loras's trial, it is not impossible that all of Margaery's handmaidens, including her cousins, were present in the Great Sept and killed in the explosion.
    • The Tyrell family is so large in the novels with so many scattered cousins of the main line that they weren't all directly acting as handmaids and attendants to the main branch, and thus wouldn't be present in the Great Sept to be killed. For example, in the books, one of the other students at the Citadel when Samwell Tarly arrives is Mace's much younger first cousin Leo Tyrell - the son of Moryn Tyrell, youngest of Luthor Tyrell's three younger brothers. The TV series has never introduced any of these minor Tyrells so it is self-consistent, but it would still be a change from the novels to say that the entire Tyrell bloodline has been extinguished.
    • The situation with House Tyrell is cleared up in Season 7 when Olenna dies during the Lannister attack on Highgarden and dialogue from Jaime and Tyrion establishes that with her gone, House Tyrell is completely extinguished.
  • It is unclear who the heirs to House Lannister are now, after Tywin's three children Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion, and with all three of Cersei's children dead. Even Jaime pointed out in Season 4 that if he didn't inherit as a Kingsguard, and Cersei's children were Baratheons, Tyrion was Tywin's only realistic heir, unless he wanted the title to pass to some minor cousin he'd never even heard of.
    • Kevan Lannister and his son Lancel die in this episode. Kevan's two younger sons Willem and Martyn Lannister previously died in Season 3. Martyn actually lived in the books but the TV version condensed him with another Lannister cousin. In the books, Kevan also has an infant daughter named Janei.
    • Tywin had other siblings and cousins in the books, who had their own children who could potentially inherit rule after Tywin's three children - that other minor cousins exist has also been sporadically mentioned before in the TV series but the specific ones from the novels haven't been introduced by name into the TV continuity. At Tyrion's trial in Season 4, Jaime even complained to Tywin that if Tyrion dies the rule of House Lannister would pass to Lancel or some other even more minor cousin they barely know - acknowledging that they exist. Besides Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion, the only other Lannister that has appeared on the show and has not been killed is Reginald Lannister (a minor cousin invented for the TV series).
  • Tommen Baratheon's death in this episode renders "House Baratheon of King's Landing" extinct - the cadet branch of House Baratheon that was going to hold the Iron Throne as the new dynasty founded by Robert Baratheon. Of course, after Robert's death, the royal House was "Baratheon" in name only, as all of Cersei's children were actually Jaime's bastard children.
    • For that matter, "House Baratheon" as a whole is now officially extinct. At the start of Season 2 it split into three factions led by Joffrey, Stannis, and Renly, but even after the deaths of Robert's brothers, the Lannisters at least maintained the pretense that Tommen actually was Robert's own son. Now no one can even claim that any trueborn Baratheons are still alive. The only known surviving member of the Baratheon bloodline is Robert's bastard son Gendry - this may be relevant in the future but for now, he hasn't been acknowledged or laid claim to the title (the way that Jon Snow claimed rule of House Stark due to lack of legitimate male heirs).
      • In the books, at least two of Robert's other bastard children survived: Mya Stone in the Vale and Edric Storm, who was raised in Storm's End and later taken in by Stannis. Stannis considered (urged by his wife and Melisandre) to sacrifice Edric, but he was saved by Davos who secretly sent him to the Free Cities. Parts of Edric's storyline were merged with Gendry's, but otherwise, Edric and Mya apparently don't exist in the TV continuity, and Gendry is being treated as Robert's only surviving bastard.
  • Actor Dean-Charles Chapman now holds the distinction of filming two death scenes in the TV series, for two separate characters: he first appeared in Season 3 playing Martyn Lannister, but was then called back in Season 4 to be recast as Tommen Baratheon - given that Tommen is Martyn's first cousin once removed, it does make sense that they would resemble each other. In Season 3 Chapman filmed Martyn's death scene when the Karstarks killed him in his prison cell, and now in this episode, he filmed Tommen's death scene committing suicide by jumping out a tower window. The only other people on the TV show who have filmed multiple death scenes are stuntmen (i.e. Ian Whyte played two different giants who died).
  • The death of the High Sparrow might mean that Cersei will try to reinstate Jaime to the Kingsguard. Seven members including Gregor appear on-screen during her coronation, however - though at this point it doesn't seem that Cersei would feel limited by the tradition that there are supposed to be only seven Kingsguard members at a time.
  • As Cersei was responsible for both Kevan and Lancel's deaths, this makes her a kinslayer. She is the third of Tywin's three children to be a kinslayer: Tyrion killed their father Tywin with a crossbow, and before that Jaime killed their distant cousin Alton Lannister as part of an escape attempt (though he felt bad about it). In the books, Jaime never killed any of his kin: Alton was the TV version of Cleos Frey, who was killed by outlaw archers on the way to King's Landing. Cersei didn't kill Kevan in the novels, Varys did, though it now seems probable that she is going to blow up the Great Sept using wildfire, in which case she is probably going to kill Lancel along with the rest of the Faith Militant, still making her a kinslayer.
    • This is ironic given Tywin's hypocritical insistence on the importance of the Lannister family and its legacy - as Cersei directly said in Season 4, he cared more about the idea of family than his actual children, and his mistreatment of them ended up warping their personalities in ways that ended up destroying not only himself but the rest of his relatives.
  • Cersei has now totally purged what little was left of the Small Council. Her uncle Kevan Lannister was Hand of the King, while Mace Tyrell was simultaneously Master of Ships and Master of Coin. Even Grand Maester Pycelle is dead, the last original member of the Small Council from Season 1 (and who, in fact, had been on the council longer than anyone, since before the reign of the Mad King). The only surviving members are Qyburn (who was Master of Whisperers) and Jaime himself - as pointed out earlier this season, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard is one of the seven permanent members of the council, but it is unclear if Cersei will have him reinstated. Cersei named Qyburn as her new Hand of the Queen - notice that he is wearing the traditional hand-sigil pin of the office during Cersei's coronation. It's possible that she might not even bother to rebuild the Small Council after this, preferring to rely on her own (extremely limited and unreliable) judgement and just keeping Qyburn as her direct advisor.
    • Meanwhile, Daenerys Targaryen is steadily building up her own Small Council, with capable advisors and administrators. She just named Cersei's brother Tyrion as her Hand of the Queen, and it seems probable that Varys will be her Master of Whisperers and Yara Greyjoy her Master of Ships.
  • The reanimated Gregor Clegane takes off his helmet for the first time in this episode - his face is still obscured by shadow but seems very corpse-like. In the novels, after his reanimation he wears an all-concealing helmet visor - in the TV version, his eyes are visible, possibly due to the practical needs of the actor to move around. In the books, however, it isn't even clear if Gregor has a head anymore, but is some sort of Frankenstein's monster. There are some lines in one of Bran's visions which somewhat imply that he doesn't have a head anymore, coupled with the fact that the Lannisters later claimed that he died and delivered what they said was Gregor's skull to Dorne as proof of his death.
  • Cersei in this TV episode, particularly the scene in which she taunts Septa Unella, behaves much more like Cersei from the novels than before, flippantly remarking on the joy she takes in crushing her enemies. A difficulty is that much of this was conveyed in Cersei's POV chapters in the novels - things from her inner mental narration that she wouldn't actually dare say aloud, limiting the TV show's ability to communicate it. Now Cersei isn't bothering to put up an act anymore, and openly admitting how she actually feels.
  • Lena Headey vaguely mentioned in a subsequent interview with Entertainment Weekly that the scene in which Cersei toys with Septa Unella then leaves her to be tortured was originally going to be much more graphic: "It’s so depraved, it’s brilliant. The scene was meant to be worse, but they couldn’t do it. This is like the tame version. It’s pretty bad still though."[8]
    • The scene reportedly took ten hours to film. Unella's actress, Hannah Waddingham, was subjected to unsimulated waterboarding, an experience she described as traumatic.[9] Additionally, Waddingham has stated in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that the experience caused her to suffer "chronic claustrophobia".[10]
  • Tommen's death fulfills part of the prophecy that Cersei received from Maggy in her youth. This part of the prophecy foretold that all three of her children would predecease her: they would have golden crowns (hair) but also golden (burial) shrouds - and indeed Tommen's burial shroud in this episode is gold colored. Of course, this may have been a self-fulfilling prophecy, given that Tommen's death was indirectly due to Cersei's own actions.
    • Cersei's actions didn't directly lead to the deaths of Joffrey and Myrcella. On a general level, however, her coup in Season 1 to assassinate Robert and put Joffrey on the throne started the war and initiated an indirect chain of events which led to their deaths.
    • With Tommen's death, all of Margaery's husbands are dead.
  • As pointed out in the "Inside the Episode" featurette, Tommen might not have died if Cersei had considered that he would be upset at his wife's death, and come to console him or try to explain what happened. It is stated in the featurette that Cersei failed Tommen in this way by not being there for him. Tommen may also likewise be upset that his mother just murdered hundreds of people, many of them innocent bystanders, and no one will ever think he is a good king after this. Instead, Cersei prioritized watching the explosion and gloating while sipping a cup of wine, and then tormenting Septa Unella in the dungeons. Thus Tommen's death is directly her fault, and she could have easily prevented it if she actually gave more thought to him. This is sort of a point from the books: Cersei thinks she loved all of her children, but she really fixated on Joffrey while ignoring Tommen and Myrcella as anything more than extensions of herself.
  • Cersei crowning herself as the new Ruling Queen on the Iron Throne is farcical in-universe, comparable to two men on a sinking ship fighting over who gets to be the captain. With all of her children dead, she has no real claim to the throne, but the extinction of House Baratheon, as well as the heir of House Targaryen (Daenerys) travelling to Westeros in order to invade leaves the inheritance of the throne unclear. Cersei is able to claim the throne as the widow of Robert Baratheon and the mother of Joffrey and Tommen. In the book series, there are two examples of widows with no actual blood relation claiming the lordships of their husbands if no other viable heirs exist: Lady Donella Hornwood (born Manderly) claims the lordship of Hornwood after House Hornwood effectively goes extinct in the War of the Five Kings, and Barbrey Dustin (born Ryswell), who has ruled as Lady of Barrowton since her husband Roderick Dustin died in Robert's Rebellion. As with Robert taking the throne through conquest, this presedence only represents a convenient excuse: Cersei simply seized control of the capital city with whatever is left of the Lannister armies, because they happened to be in King's Landing at the moment. It's doubtful she can hold the city against her enemies with what few forces she has left.
  • Cersei isn't even functionally the queen over more than one or two of the "Seven Kingdoms" anymore. The North has just successfully risen in revolt again, joined by the Vale. Frey control over the Riverlands was already tenuous as Houses Blackwood and Mallister and the Brotherhood Without Banners were in open revolt, and it has now been weakened even more thanks to Arya. The Iron Islands remain independent and weren't even controlled by her son Joffrey. Now, both the Reach and Dorne are openly declaring for Daenerys Targaryen. Essentially, the only parts of Westeros that Cersei actually controls anymore are King's Landing and the Crownlands, the Westerlands, and maybe a bit of the Riverlands between to connect the two. With House Baratheon destroyed, Cersei might conceivably be claiming the Stormlands in the same way she has claimed the Iron Throne: by being the widow of Robert Baratheon and mother of Joffrey and Tommen. However, the Stormlands have no military strength left at all following the Battle of the Blackwater, and even if they did, their chances of supporting Cersei are small given they had previously backed Renly and later Stannis.
    • In effect, with the destruction of the Lannister-Tyrell alliance and resurgence of the North, the Lannisters' zone of control has shrunk back to more or less what it was right after Joffrey first took power, so they're no better off than they were originally (in early Season 2). In fact, they're actually far worse off than they were when the war began: Cersei has zero actual right to rule, half of the Lannister armies were destroyed by Robb Stark, and the Lannisters are financially bankrupt from heavy wartime spending. Winter has finally begun, but they don't have access to either of the two main breadbasket regions of Westeros anymore: the Riverlands are now a burned out husk, and the Reach has outright turned against them. Olenna even tried to warn Cersei in Season 5 how ridiculous it was to turn against the Tyrells, given that the Lannisters are directly reliant upon them for money and even shipments of basic food supplies. Cersei apparently didn't realize or simply didn't care that killing the ruler of House Tyrell and his two children would turn the Reach to open war against her. Both regions that had thus far been neutral in the War of the Five Kings (Dorne and The Vale) have openly declared for someone else - adding their large unbloodied armies to the fight.
    • Given that the few remaining territories the Lannisters still control are in the middle of Westeros, Cersei is now facing major enemies in all four directions: Jon, Sansa, Littlefinger, and their armies to the North; Euron Greyjoy's fleets and armies to the west; the Tyrells and Dorne to the south; and Daenerys's army and dragons arriving in a fleet from the east. Of these, she has no chance of rebuilding alliances with the North or the South, because they hate her with a vengeance for the Lannisters killing several of their immediate family members. Euron meanwhile is a wild card.
  • During Cersei's coronation, the title for the ruler who sits on the Iron Throne has once again flip-flopped between "King of the Andals and the First Men" and "King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men," with no semblance of internal consistency.
    • The full title refers to the Rhoynar ancestors of the Dornishmen, but because back in Season 1 the showrunners didn't know if the TV series would ever introduce Dornish characters, they removed virtually all references to the Rhoynar and the Dornish so as not to confuse the audience. The result was that the shortened title "King of the Andals and the First Men" has been used since the beginning of the very first episode when Ned Stark executed a Night's Watch deserter.
    • This shortened title was consistently used through Season 4, even when Oberyn Martell was physically present at Tommen's coronation as "King of the Andals and the First Men". There was one isolated incident earlier in Season 4 when Missandei introduced Daenerys using the full title "Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar, and the First Men" - but in the Season 4 finale, Missandei introduced Daenerys using the shortened title, omitting "the Rhoynar".
    • Through Season 5, the TV show continued to consistently use the shortened title "King of the Andals and the First Men", to the point that the Wiki of Westeros considered the single appearance of "the Rhoynar" in Season 4 to simply be a non-canon script error.
    • In the Season 6 premiere, however, Daenerys once again introduced herself as "Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men". At this point, it wasn't even clear what the title is supposed to be in the TV continuity - in contrast with if the writers officially chose to make a formal retcon that the title would subsequently include "the Rhoynar" and stuck with it consistently.
    • Now at the end of Season 6, the TV show once yet switches back to using the shortened version, with no internal consistency, when Qyburn crowns Cersei as "Queen of the Andals and the First Men", omitting "the Rhoynar."
  • Marei the prostitute reappears in this episode, in Pycelle's chamber, making her the longest recurring prostitute character in the TV series. She first appeared in the Season 2 premiere and with this episode, has appeared in five continuous TV seasons (even Ros only appeared for three TV seasons, and Shae for four seasons).
  • Kevan is the fifth Hand of the King to the Iron Throne who is murdered in a row, following Rossart, Jon Arryn, Ned Stark and Tywin. Tyrion does not count because he was never officially appointed to be the Hand by Joffrey, but was acting as the Hand while Tywin was absent from King's Landing.
    • Most of those (except Arryn) have been slain by or at the command of Lannisters: Rossart by Jaime; Ned on Joffrey's order for execution; Tywin by Tyrion; and Kevan by Cersei.
  • Cersei's apparent victory over the High Sparrow and many of his followers does not necessarily mean she managed to destroy the Faith Militant entirely. It is unlikely that all the organization members were in King's Landing and that all of those were close enough to the explosion site.
    • In the books, there are at least two thousands of the Faith Militant in King's Landing alone; there are hundreds more of them, maybe thousands, in many places all over the realm. When Jaime stops at Darry, he is stunned to see about one hundred of the Sparrows there. Thus, even if in the upcoming novels Cersei destroys the Sparrows in King's Landing, there will be plenty more of them outside the city, seeking revenge; the loss of their supreme leader may not stop them for long.

In Oldtown[]

  • This is the first time that Oldtown has appeared on-screen in the TV series. It is the second largest city in Westeros, nearly as large as King's Landing itself, but many thousands of years older and therefore much better organized. King's Landing was rapidly constructed by the Targaryens 300 years ago without much thought to organized "city planning" leading to slum districts like Flea Bottom, but Oldtown doesn't have these problems.
    • This is also the first time that any other city in Westeros other than King's Landing itself has appeared on-screen. There are five settlements in Westeros big enough to be called cities, which in descending order of size are King's Landing, Oldtown, Lannisport, Gulltown, and White Harbor (the seat of House Manderly). King's Landing is stated to have a population of around 500,000, and Oldtown is nearly as large. Lannisport is of comparatively medium size, perhaps half as large, while Gulltown and White Harbor are much smaller (White Harbor might only have a population in the low tens of thousands).
  • The large structure that Sam and Gilly see when they arrive at Oldtown is the aptly named Hightower, from which the city's rulers take their name: House Hightower of Oldtown. The tower is a lighthouse for ships at sea and a defensive structure. It is also the tallest structure in Westeros, even taller than the Wall (the Hightower is 800 feet tall compared to the Wall's 700 feet).
  • This is also the first time that the Citadel has appeared on-screen, the university-like headquarters of the entire Order of Maesters which is located in Oldtown. The Citadel has been mentioned in passing since Season 1.
  • The master reading a large book at the front desk of the Citadel when Samwell arrives there is using a set of magnifying glasses to read the small print. The technology level of Westeros and Essos actually is capable of producing magnifying glasses, and also telescopes to study the stars. Telescopes in Westeros are called "far-eyes" (like artificial eyes they help you see things which are far away). The best magnifying lenses are produced in the Free City of Myr, and thus are called "Myrish lenses". Other characters in the novels are mentioned as using magnifying glasses to help them read, such as Theon and Yara Greyjoy's maternal uncle Lord Rodrik "the Reader" Harlaw (who was omitted from the TV version).
  • Notice the large astrolabes hung like chandeliers in the Citadel's vast library: they are clearly the basis for the astrolabe which appears in the opening credits of the TV series, with filigree depicting the history of Westeros (conquest by dragons then the dragons dying, etc.). The showrunners have always said that their conception for the opening credits is that, somewhere, there is a maester who toiled away in his cell constructing a magnificent astrolabe which the camera is simply moving around during the opening credits.
  • It's unclear how the Citadel was unaware of Jeor Mormont's death, given that in Season 5, Tyrion knew about Jeor's death, and told Jeor's son, Jorah, about it. Tyrion presumably knew because the Night's Watch sent out ravens desperately requesting aid against the upcoming battle against Mace Rayder, and he was still a member of the Small Council at the time (in the brief interval between when Samwell sent the letters in the Season 3 finale and when Tyrion was arrested in episode 4.2). A possible explanation is that the Citadel simply didn't get around to reading reports from far-away Castle Black, because they think its the boring edge of the world - comparable to how even the Small Council scoffed at and ignored letters they received from the Wall in Season 2.
    • Of course, Sam's information is also outdated by this point, as Jon Snow is no longer Lord Commander either. He is, in fact, the new King in the North. After Jon's death and resurrection, and then subsequently leaving to fight the Boltons, Dolorous Edd is the new de-facto Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. It is unclear when Sam will learn of what has occurred in the North since he left Castle Black.
    • In the book, the maester does not inquire about the identity of the current Lord Commander. Sam tells that without being asked, and much more: the Others and wights, the wildlings, Great Ranging, Jeor Mormont's death, how Jon became the Lord Commander, the voyage to Oldtown, etc. He concludes “Daenerys is the only hope. Aemon said the Citadel must send her a maester at once, to bring her home to Westeros before it is too late".

Beyond the Wall[]

  • This episode confirms a longstanding theory derived from numerous hints in the novels, years before the show was released: that Jon Snow is actually the secret child of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen - popularly known by the fandom acronym "R+L=J" ("Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon").
    • If it wasn't obvious enough to some viewers through visual storytelling that Rhaegar was Jon's real father, the Game of Thrones Viewer's Guide website was updated after the episode aired to directly state that Rhaegar was, in fact, Jon's father.
    • It is also heavily implied, but not outright confirmed just yet, that Rhaegar didn't abduct and rape Lyanna, but instead, she ran off with him, and Jon was their secret love child. The circumstances were eventually clarified at the end of Season 7 in "The Dragon and the Wolf."
    • Given that Rhaegar was Daenerys's older brother, and Jon is his last living son, then by all the different inheritance laws of Westeros, Jon technically ranks ahead of Daenerys Targaryen in the line of succession to the Iron Throne if Rhaegar married Lyanna in secret. Daenerys would still rank ahead of Jon if he was merely Rhaegar's bastard son; note that Rhaegar was already married to Elia Martell. On the other hand, the Targaryens were known to practice polygamy in past centuries when they thought they could get away with it - always a contentious issue with the Faith of the Seven which forced them to abandon it. Nonetheless, it is possible that Rhaegar entered into a second marriage to Lyanna in secret, making Jon his legitimate son. Of course, as Renly Baratheon pointed out in Season 1, the "line of succession" is often just a legal fiction decided at the point of a sword: Robert claimed the Iron Throne on the token pretext that he was Rhaegar's second cousin (his grandmother was a Targaryen), but it was ultimately decided on the battlefield.
  • As implied in their brief dialogue, Lyanna feared that Robert would kill her baby if he found out that Jon was actually Rhaegar's son (although he was so possessively in love with Lyanna that he might have had Jon killed even if Rhaegar wasn't the father), and she made Ned promise to protect him. As a result, when Ned Stark returned north to Winterfell from the war, he passed off Jon as his own bastard son to protect him, when Jon was, in fact, Ned's nephew. The only thing he'd ever say about Jon's mother was a vaguely concocted explanation that he fathered her on a servant girl named "Wylla". Ned came very close to telling Jon the truth about his mother when they last saw each other at the beginning of Season 1, but ended by emphatically saying that "you might not have my name, but you have my blood" - because he was actually Jon's uncle.
    • It was mentioned multiple times in both the books and TV series that it would have been out of character for Ned Stark to father Jon on some camp-follower - Robert enjoyed whores, but Ned was very restrained and honorable and didn't, particularly because he had just married Catelyn and felt their vows were binding. In Season 5, Stannis Baratheon remarked to his wife that he doubted Jon was just some random whore's son because he knew Eddard for years and that really wasn't his way.
    • Moreover, Ned's promise to Jon in Season 1's episode "The Kingsroad", when they parted ways, to finally talk with him about his mother the next time they see each other, could be explained by the fact that by then Jon would have been a member of the Night's Watch. Indeed, by making his Night's Watch vows, Jon would have unknowingly relinquished any claim to the Throne, if he had any, and consequently would have no longer been a threat to Robert's rule - at least in Ned's opinion.
  • In a scene from Season 1's Episode "The Kingsroad" which closely following the books, King Robert absentmindedly asks Ned what the name of his bastard son's mother was. Ned has a hesitant look on his face and replies, "Wylla". Even Robert joked that she must have been quite a woman to make Ned break his marriage vows - not the most observant of characters, it didn't occur to Robert that Ned's story was odd.
    • "Wylla" actually was a real person in the novels: Arya later hears from young Edric Dayne that she is a wetnurse serving at his home castle, Starfall, whom he says nursed Jon Snow as a baby. It is also known that after leaving the Tower of Joy, Eddard first went to Starfall (nearby in western Dorne) to return Arthur Dayne's ancestral sword Dawn to his family. Apparently, what really happened was that Eddard took the infant Jon with him to Starfall, then hired Wylla as a wet nurse until the newborn Jon was healthy enough to travel the long distance back to Winterfell. Never good at lying on the spur of the moment, when Eddard was asked by Robert who Jon's mother was, instead of making up a random name he picked the name of someone that was still associated with Jon's infancy.
  • In the first novel alone, several different rumors are given about who Jon's mother is, and Ned himself even gives somewhat conflicting accounts about it, hinting early on that he was lying about it. Some said he was the product of an affair Ned had not just with some random servant, but with Lady Ashara Dayne - sister of Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, others that the mother had been Wylla, a maid in service to Ashara, along with other rumors.
    • The TV series actually omitted many of the hints about Jon's parentage which had already existed in the earlier novels, which strongly suggested that Eddard was hiding something about Jon's real parentage. In fact, the fan theory that Jon is really Rhaegar and Lyanna's son originated after the first novel alone was released - then only strengthened over the years as new hints were introduced with each subsequent book. The TV series was faced with a delicate balancing act: give just enough hints since Season 1 about Jon's real parentage to set it up, but without making it too obvious before the revelation. Stray hints in a large novel that is hundreds of pages long are not as obvious as hints given in one hour TV episodes, which is probably why the TV series had to introduce them more sparingly.
      • As if to tease the audience further, in the episode "Oathbreaker", a theme very similar to Daenerys's theme is played for Jon moments before he cuts the lever to hang Alliser Thorne and the mutineers. In that same episode, the first part of the flashback which reveals Jon's parentage is also shown.
      • Another hint to Jon's true parentage was back in Season 2 when Daenerys was in the House of the Undying. One of the visions she sees is the Throne Room in the Red Keep, and the Iron Throne itself covered in Snow, a possible hint to Jon being at least related to the Targaryens.
      • In Season 5's episode "Kill the Boy," when discussing Daenerys, Maester Aemon says "A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing." Immediately after, Jon enters the room and the camera focuses on him.
    • Lyanna actually told Ned the name of her child, but the audio is hidden from the audience (and possibly Bran) as she whispers it to him. The novels heavily imply that Ned Stark named him "Jon" after his great friend and mentor Jon Arryn, a man who was like a second father to him but had little connection with Lyanna. As "The Dragon and the Wolf" reveals, Ned chooses this name as another form of protection because the name chosen by Lyanna was too Targaryen for the child's sake. In a 2002 'So Spake Martin', George R. R. Martin reveals Ned named Jon himself. [11]
    • In the books, no one doubts that Jon is related to Ned because he looks just like Ned in his youth: Jon inherited the very strong Stark physical features of dark hair, gray eyes, and a long face. Tyrion even states that whoever Jon's mother was, she left nothing in him. Ironically, it's the opposite, Jon inherited the Stark look from his mother, and looks nothing like his birth father. Ned's other children with Catelyn mostly inherited her Tully features of auburn hair and blue eyes. In Catelyn's first POV chapter at the beginning of the first book, she even pointed out how painful it was that Jon actually looks more like his "father" Ned than her own son Robb. Arya was the only one of their children to inherit dark Stark features, and Ned said she looked like her aunt Lyanna when she was young - which could have been a hint that just as Arya took after her aunt in appearance, Jon took after his uncle, as opposed to his father by blood, in appearance. The TV show apparently also made some effort to match this: TV-Robb had somewhat brown/auburn hair like Catelyn, while TV-Jon also closely resembles Ned.
  • Given that Jon is actually the son of Lyanna, this means that his alleged siblings Sansa, Arya, and Bran are actually his first cousins. Jon's future political career as King in the North may hinge on marriage-alliances: first cousins marriages are not considered incest in Westeros and are actually fairly common among the nobility. Tywin married his own first-cousin Joanna Lannister. Indeed, in the novels, even the Starks have had first cousin marriages in recent times: Ned's own parents Rickard Stark and Lyarra Stark were first cousins once removed (her name was already "Lyarra Stark" before they married). Thus it is not implausible that if this revelation came to light, Jon could legally marry Sansa or Arya to cement his claim over the North - but it is very unlikely, in view of his personality, he would marry a woman whom he believed many years to be his sister.
    • Another potential marriage-alliance for political goals by Jon may, of course, be with Daenerys herself. Due to Jon actually being the son of Daenerys's eldest brother Rhaegar, Daenerys is actually Jon's aunt, even though they are roughly the same age. Nonetheless, the Targaryens were known to practice uncle-niece or aunt-nephew marriages in the past (which aren't quite as incestuous as brother-sister marriages). Rhaenyra Targaryen married her own uncle, Daemon Targaryen. Thus according to Targaryen customs, it would also be perfectly legal for Jon to marry Daenerys to secure a political alliance. It has yet to be seen, however, if Jon and Daenerys will form an alliance or if they will end up fighting each other for dominion over the North, as Daenerys has repeatedly stated in past seasons that she will not settle for anything other than the Seven Kingdoms.
    • Given that the legality of Jon's birth hinges on if his father entered into a polygamous marriage, it isn't even outside the realm of possibility that Jon might invoke Targaryen custom to marry both Sansa and/or Daenerys for political reasons. In view of Jon's personality - he was never a womanizer, and has always been conservative about interaction with the opposite sex (never slept with a whore, rejected Ygritte's advances until was forced to sleep with her, etc.) - it is highly unlikely he will marry his kin - let alone marry more than one woman.
  • Correspondingly, Jon being the son of Lyanna actually means that Bran is ahead of both Sansa and Jon in the line of succession, regardless of whether Jon is a bastard or later legitimized by decree. Ned was Lyanna's older brother, meaning that all of Ned's children rank ahead of Lyanna's son Jon according to the succession laws of Westeros. Thus, while a rift could potentially be developing between Jon and Sansa about which of them should rule the North - Sansa the trueborn daughter or Jon the bastard son - Bran's revelation of Jon's parentage when he returns south may render this contention moot. Sansa theoretically wouldn't resent Bran ruling ahead of her, because he was always ahead of her in the line of succession as a trueborn son. Technically, even Rickon ranked ahead of Sansa, due to the male-preference primogeniture system of inheritance. Of course, given everything that's happened, Sansa might still be interested in some power for herself.
  • The name of the novel series on which the TV show is based is A Song of Ice and Fire: as the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar, Jon is both in one person. The Starks rule over the North, and are often associated with ice and snow, particularly because their kingdom is bordered by the Wall. The Targaryens, meanwhile, are associated with fire due to their dragons - their ancestral castle on Dragonstone is even located next to a volcano.
  • This revelation now clearly raises the possibility that Jon is the Prince That Was Promised, the messiah who will save the world from the return of the White Walkers. In the books, the prophecy about the prince that was promised more clearly states that the prince will be someone of the Targaryen bloodline.
    • The prophecy says that the Prince would be born under a bloody star: this may have figuratively referred to Arthur Dayne and his ancestral sword Dawn, given that Ser Arthur was guarding the tower when Jon was born. When young Ned enters the chamber to find Lyanna dying after childbirth, the camera makes it a point to show him setting Dawn down against the bed. Dawn is made from the metal found in a fallen star (meteorite), and it was covered in the blood of its master Ser Arthur after Ned finished him off with it - thus, a "bloody star". The TV version of Dawn also has a sunrise etched onto the pommel.
    • The fact that Daenerys is female does not rule her out as a candidate, however: in the novels Maester Aemon analyzes the prophecy and concludes that his great-niece Daenerys is the prince that was promised, explaining that in High Valyrian the word for "Prince" (which is derived from the word for "dragon", creatures which have no fixed sex) is gender-neutral – like "ruler", it can refer to a man or woman (it is Missandei who will eventually notice this in "The Queen's Justice").
    • Another major part of the prophecy also states that "the dragon has three heads": that "the prince that was promised" isn't actually one person but three people acting together. Even when Aegon I Targaryen conquered and united the Seven Kingdoms with dragons, he didn't actually do it alone but united with his two sister-wives - which is why the official heraldry that he designed for House Targaryen from that day forward is of a red three-headed dragon. The prophecy is in their very own sigil. Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen would logically constitute two of the three heads, but the third remains to be seen.
    • Stannis met the requirement for this because his grandmother was a Targaryen, as noted by his followers in the books, but given his death in the television series and the large possibility of his death in the books, he is no longer a candidate.
  • The mothers of both Jon and Daenerys died in childbirth, and soon afterward, both Jon and Daenerys had to be secreted away from their father's enemies who wanted to kill them.
  • It remains unclear if Benjen Stark actually is the character "Coldhands" from the novels or a similar revenant, or if the TV series is condensing the two characters together. Coldhands in the novels similarly appears to be a dead human who was being turned into an undead wight, but the Children of the Forest intervened so that he retains his consciousness and free will. Whatever the case, Coldhands in the novels gives the same explanation that Benjen does: the Children worked strong spells into the foundations of the Wall when it was constructed which prevent dead things animated by magic, such as himself, from passing through it. For the same reason, Coldhands cannot enter the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven, as he and Leaf explain to Bran.
    • Even in the novels, the corpses of Othor and Jafer Flowers reanimated as wights inside Castle Black - but they had to be brought through the Wall by the Night's Watch when they found their bodies. It's possible that even if Coldhands and/or Benjen were brought through the Wall by someone else, they might only reanimate as a mindless wight, which is why they avoid it.

At Winterfell[]

  • WhiteRaven

    A white messenger-raven previously appeared in the Season 2 premiere to announce that the seasons had officially turned from summer to autumn.

    As Sansa Stark explains, they just received a white messenger-raven at Winterfell sent from the Citadel by the Order of Maesters - signifying that winter has finally begun. White messenger-ravens are a special sub-breed kept at the Citadel and they are larger, stronger, and smarter than normal ravens. White messenger ravens are only sent out to carry the important official announcement across Westeros that the seasons have changed. The Citadel gathers reports about weather from maesters all over Westeros and after much deliberation, they determine when one season can be considered to have officially ended and the next has begun. A white raven previously appeared in the Season 2 premiere, "The North Remembers", when it was delivered to the Small Council to inform them that the ten-year long summer had officially ended and turned into autumn (though the episode didn't explain in dialogue why the raven was white, this is a detail from the books). For six seasons, the TV series has been promising the Stark words that "Winter Is Coming". The white ravens in this episode officially carry the message that announces, "winter is here," as Sansa tells Jon at Winterfell.
    • Jon jokingly points out that their father always said it would come, i.e. with the Stark house words. This highlights another point: the summer that ended at the beginning of Season 2 lasted for ten years, unusually long, and there was a spring season before that. Jon was around 16 years old in Season 1 of the TV series, and Sansa stated to be 13 years old. Therefore, none of the Stark children were old enough to really remember experiencing the previous winter (granted, there are occasional "summer snows" in the North during cold spells, mentioned in the TV show, but nothing compares to a full-on winter).
    • In fact, the white ravens can be seen being released into the air in Samwell's subplot when he arrives at the Citadel itself in Oldtown. Sam frowns when he sees them, knowing what they indicate.
    • In the books, the white ravens announcing the arrival of winter are sent out soon after Cersei's Walk of atonement. The TV series adapted several storylines out of sync with each other, thus the white ravens only arrive at the time of her trial.
    • Cersei previously mentioned to Littlefinger in Season 5 that they could tell autumn would be ending relatively soon, noting that the weather had started to turn. The length of the years-long seasons in Westeros can be unpredictable, but they can get a general sense when a season is drawing to a close, i.e. cold weather in early November/early December still technically isn't "winter", but people can observe the gradual shift.
  • As clarified in the "Inside the Episode" featurette, there is a hint of tension between Jon and Sansa about who will rule the North: Sansa is a trueborn daughter and by the laws of succession in the North, should rank ahead of Jon, an illegitimate son. Moreover, Jon makes it clear that he doesn't even want to rule the North and expects Sansa to be Lady of Winterfell, a position Sansa does inherit as of this episode.[12] Their assembled bannermen declare Jon as their new king due to his bravery on the battlefield, fighting alongside his and Sansa's army against the Bolton forces, and because he is the North's best chance against the coming storm.[13] Thus, through no intention of his own, Jon ends up ruling the North instead of Sansa, who is a trueborn Stark. However, Sansa nonetheless inherits the position as Lady of Winterfell. Ironically, it was Lyanna Mormont, a female ruler, who first declared Jon to be King in the North, followed by the other lords who declare Jon King in the North. The beginnings of a potential rift between Jon and Sansa is very subtly shown in the scene where Jon is declared king. When Lyanna Mormont states that she knows, "No king but the King in the North, whose name is Stark," Sansa is smiling. This could be because she believes Lyanna is about to declare her, Eddard Stark's trueborn daughter, Queen in the North. However, when Lyanna then says, "I don't care if he's a bastard," Sansa's smile seems to fade, with some viewers speculating this may be because she realizes that Lyanna is referring to Jon, not her. She smiles again afterward because she is happy for her brother, but the smile fades once more when she sees Littlefinger, who is smirking knowingly due to their earlier meeting where he brought up that Sansa should be the North's future, not Jon.
    • According to Sophie Turner, Sansa does not actually care to be Queen in the North, and is more upset that she receives no credit or recognition for her large part in making Jon become King in the North during the meeting in the Great Hall. Sansa is worried that Jon will regard her as the little sister he remembers her as and as a result, will not listen or trust her advice as much. Turner notes that while Jon and Sansa love each other, they have some tension between them, and feels Jon is naive to this. Kit Harrington agrees, saying that Jon has not learned his lesson in accurately gleaning how Sansa truly feels, with Jon asking Sansa to trust him, but is not listening or observing her enough. Littlefinger will most likely play this angle to his advantage in Season 7.
      • During the official Game of Thrones panel at San Diego Comic Con 2016, Sophie Turner was directly asked during the live Q&A segment why Sansa didn't just tell Jon about the Vale army, i.e. whether it was because she was angry at him and wanted to take credit for it, or because she didn't know if the Vale army would come and didn't want to get his hopes up (or anger him for telling off Littlefinger when she had the chance to accept his offer), etc. Turner looked somewhat embarrassed and then bluntly admitted that she had no idea why, in-universe, Sansa didn't tell Jon. The showrunners never gave her specific instructions about it. She then finished her answer by outright admitting that there really wasn't a reason for it other than to make the "dramatically satisfying" moment when the Vale army shows up in the nick of time to save Jon at the end of the battle. Showrunners Benioff and Weiss actually were present at this panel, a dozen feet away from Turner, but made no attempt to interject their own answer: they showed up to the panel visibly drunk, and when their first turn came to speak they openly admitted that they had done so many vodka shots right before their own panel that they were too intoxicated to talk, and asked the moderator to not direct any more questions to them for the rest of the panel. Thus there is no stated "official" explanation for Sansa's actions.
    • It is unclear what exactly Jon is supposed to feel grateful to Sansa for in the TV version. In the books, Sansa helps Littlefinger manipulate the Vale lords to come to the North. In the TV version, Sansa simply didn't do much of anything to influence political events in Season 6. Sansa never manipulated Littlefinger into sending the knights of the Vale: when he first met Sansa again at Mole's Town at the beginning of Season 6, he immediately offered to send the Vale army to attack the Boltons - this wasn't a demand that Sansa exacted from him, nor did she manipulate him in any way (to the point that during the battle, she feared Littlefinger might not come at all). Essentially, all that happened was that Littlefinger offered to send the Vale army against the Boltons, and Sansa accepted - late enough that many of Jon's men were killed before they arrived. If Jon should be thanking anyone it would simply be Littlefinger himself. Out of universe, from cast & crew comments, it doesn't appear that they wanted to depict Sansa as petulant or mistaken - it genuinely seems their intention was for Sansa to play a vital role in bringing the Vale army to the North, and they simply don't seem to realize that in the final cut of Season 6, Sansa was never really shown playing an active role in sending the Vale army against the Boltons.
  • Ironically, Jon being granted one of the leadership positions that may have gone to one of her own children is the very situation that Catelyn Stark feared. One of the reasons why she didn't like that Jon was living in Winterfell and being raised alongside her children by Ned was because of the possible threat that he or his possible descendants may potentially pose to her children's own positions in the North or their claim on Winterfell. However, it has since been revealed that Jon is Ned's nephew and not his illegitimate son as Catelyn believed, which would likely have made Catelyn warmer towards the idea of Jon ruling the North.
  • Jon Snow is declared the new King in the North in this episode, officially reviving the independent Kingdom of the North that was crushed with Robb Stark's death at the Red Wedding. Littlefinger says that the large army of the Vale has declared for the Starks as well. The Vale lords also declare Jon Snow King in the North. Also, thanks to Arya's actions in destroying the Freys' leadership, the Freys' already tenuous hold over Robb Stark's former bannermen in the Riverlands will fall apart, possibly allowing them to rejoin the Starks as well (unlike Robb, Jon has no Tully blood, but the Vale lords didn't declare for him due to any blood ties either).
    • In the "Inside the Episode" featurette, the showrunners acknowledge that the scene hailing Jon as the new King in the North is meant to parallel the first King in the North scene crowning Robb Stark at the end of Season 1 - and that this is supposed to give a hint of uneasiness, given that Robb Stark ended up being betrayed and murdered during his tenure as king.
    • A concern is that unlike in the books, Jon knows that Bran didn't die during the fall of Winterfell; Season 4 changed this so that Samwell broke his word to Bran and told Jon that he saw his brother and that he was heading beyond the Wall. As a trueborn Stark son, Bran ranks ahead of both Jon and Sansa in the line of succession. Bran is not mentioned by Jon or Sansa but Jon and Sansa have not received any news of Bran, or whether he is alive, for over two years at this point. When Jon went to search for Bran at Craster's Keep and avenge Jeor Mormont's murder, Jojen convinced Bran not to let Jon find him as Jon would want to protect Bran and bring him safely back south of the Wall. As a result, Jon was unable to find any trace of Bran and both he and Sansa remain unaware of where Bran is or if he is alive.
    • Lord Wyman Manderly of White Harbor appears for the first time in this episode. As Lyanna says, his son Wendel Manderly was killed at the Red Wedding - indeed he was shown on-screen being killed with a crossbow bolt - Wendel had no speaking lines, but prominently wore a Manderly sigil pin on his tunic and his name was confirmed in the official credits for the episode. In the novels, Wyman played a much more active role planning to feign submission to the Boltons and then destroy them from within - it was Lord Wyman in the novels who made the "Frey pies" out of three Freys he captured, then served them back to other Freys.
    • Lord Robett Glover reappears in this episode, apologizing profusely for not answering Jon Snow's call before, only because he thought that the battle was hopeless and didn't want to send more of his men to their deaths for nothing. When he last appeared ("The Broken Man"), he also mentioned that his older brother Galbart Glover hailed Robb as king (as seen in Season 1), but didn't clarify if he was dead or not. In the novels, it is unknown if Galbart is still alive: before going to the Twins, Robb has sent him and Maege Mormont on a mission to the north, and so far their fate is unknown. As for Robett: he was captured by the Lannisters at the battle of Duskendale, but later returned by ship in a prisoner exchange to White Harbor. Thus in the novels, Robett is indeed the acting lord, though he has not returned yet to Deepwood Motte. Given that even Wyman Manderly has come to the council at Winterfell from White Harbor in this episode, which apparently includes all the surviving Northern lords, this seems to confirm that Galbart simply died off-screen in battle in the TV continuity - fully making Robett the official head of House Glover now.
    • The new Lord Cerwyn, whose father was flayed alive by Ramsay Bolton, was mentioned previously in Season 5 episode 3 "High Sparrow", when Ramsay recounted the incident to his father Roose. Lyanna Mormont even calls him out on this in this episode, stating that even though Ramsay skinned his father, Lord Cerwyn still didn't answer the call to fight. Roose even criticized Ramsay at the time because he said that while the Cerwyns were terrified of him now, this would make them hate him and turn on them if an opportunity presented itself - but there was no payoff to this.
    • The northern lords, who hailed Jon as their king, unknowingly fulfilled Robb's wish: in the novels, Jon actually is legitimized and named heir to the King in the North by Robb in a royal decree issued by Robb during the third novel. Robb does this, before he goes to the Twins, because he is childless (due to his wife, Jeyne Westerling, being secretly given contraceptive potions by her mother under the pretense of a fertility potion) and his younger brothers, Bran and Rickon, are believed dead. Robb worries that Tyrion will claim Winterfell through his marriage to Sansa. Thus, Robb decides to legitimize his illegitimate half-brother Jon, and names him as heir in his decree, despite the fact that as a brother of the Night's Watch, Jon couldn't inherit any titles. However, before Jon can be informed of Robb's decision, Robb is murdered at the Twins during the Red Wedding.
      • What has become of Robb's decree is unknown, for it is not mentioned in the books after Robb issues it. There is a fan speculation Robb has given it to Maege Mormont and Galbart Glover, whom he sent on a mission to the north (therefore they did not attend the Red Wedding). It is unknown if they reached their destination, and whether they are still alive.
      • In the fifth novel, Maege's second daughter Alysane (who travels with Stannis's host to Winterfell) comments that her sisters Lyra and Jorelle "are with our mother" - implying that Maege is still alive, and her whereabouts are known to her daughters. Based on that comment and Lyanna's letter to Stannis, there is a fan theory known as the "Great Northern Conspiracy" that Maege is alive, has Robb's decree in possession, and waits for the right moment to reveal it in public.
      • If that theory turns to be correct, then perhaps Maege will appear with the decree in the parallel chapter to this episode in the upcoming sixth novel.
  • The nickname that the Northern vassals proclaim for Jon as their king, "the White Wolf", seems to be in imitation of how Robb Stark was earlier nicknamed "the Young Wolf". Jon isn't just nicknamed this for his albino direwolf, Ghost - rather it seems to be a reference to Stark heraldry. Under the rules of heraldry in Westeros, bastard sons can't use the heraldry of their trueborn family, so they often use the same image with the color scheme reversed: i.e. the Targaryen sigil is a red dragon on a black background, so their bastard offshoot House Blackfyre used a black dragon on a red background as their sigil. House Stark's heraldry is a grey direwolf on a snow white background, thus Stark bastards in past generations have frequently used a white wolf on a grey background for their heraldry. Thus Jon would use a white wolf as a heraldic symbol of his status as a bastard of House Stark. This is one of the reasons they saw it as a sign from the Old Gods when they found a dead direwolf with exactly six pups, one for each Stark child, even in the right gender ratio - the sixth pup was even an albino, to match Jon's bastard status.
  • When in the main great hall of Winterfell, Jon Snow reminisces that while all of the trueborn members of the Stark family sat up front on the raised dais, he was seated among the lower tables due to his illegitimate status. In the novels, it is noted that Jon usually sits with his family but, as is described in his first POV chapter in the first novel, he is seated among the squires during the feast for King Robert, which is ironically one thing about being a bastard that Jon enjoys since he can frequently drink with the squires. Jon later gets angry after an argument with his uncle Benjen (brought on mostly by getting drunk) and goes outside, where he runs into Tyrion Lannister. The TV version of the first episode "Winter Is Coming" simplifies this so that Jon was just already outside when Tyrion runs into him, and to explain this had Jon say that Catelyn had Jon wait outside the feast hall altogether for fear of offending Cersei by his presence.
  • Once again the leader of the White Walkers is referred to as "the Night King", this time by Melisandre to Davos and Jon Snow. Two episodes ago in "No One," Davos (in Jon's presence) started referring to him as "the Night King" - even though there's no clear explanation for how any of them would know what the White Walkers' leader is called (although in this instance, Melisandre could have picked it up from Davos). Jon saw him at Hardhome, but all the White Walkers remained characteristically silent. It's possible that there is some sort of legend, not revealed to the audience, that suggests this name for the leader of the White Walkers (there are some vague hints of this in semi-canon RPGs for the books).
    • Melisandre doesn't try to claim that the Night King is the Great Other, even though his very existence seems to play perfectly into the Lord of Light religion's cosmology. This might still be in character, however: Melisandre's failure with Stannis seems to have made her more reluctant to evangelize. Note that she not only hasn't tried to convert anyone this season, she has even avoided using her magic unless directly asked.
  • When Davos accuses Melisandre, she states that Shireen was not only killed by her, but her father and mother were also responsible as well. This is only partially true. Although Stannis does agree to have Shireen sacrificed and maintains his resolve, and Selyse initially goes along with the sacrifice, she changes her mind and tries to stop it, but is held back by Stannis's men. Afterwards, she is so guilt-ridden that she commits suicide.
  • Davos asks Melisandre how many people died because of her false assumption that Stannis was the Prince That Was Promised. This echoes a similar question asked by Melisandre to Davos in "Mhysa", when she asked him how many people he had doomed by setting Gendry free.
  • Sansa says that she used to go to the Winterfell Godswood regularly to pray as a child. In the novels, it was somewhat implied that as her mother's daughter in their interfaith household, she generally focused on the Faith of the Seven that her mother followed and never seemed particularly attached to the traditions of the old gods. On the other hand, they had an interfaith household, and it was never explicitly made clear how much or how little of each religion different Stark children practiced. It is stated in the first novel that she follows the Seven like her mother. But during the second and third novel, she begins to pray in the godswood more often, and is disappointed that there's no true godswood at the Eyrie, because the roots can't take hold in the stony soil.
  • Littlefinger finally admits that what he wants is to sit on the Iron Throne as ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, with Sansa by his side. Even in the books, one of the points that frightens people the most about Littlefinger is that they can't even tell what he's trying to do in the long-term - as Varys laments in both the books and TV series, only the gods know what game Littlefinger could possibly be playing. Ironically, if he simply admitted that he wanted to seize the Iron Throne, this would scare people less than the fear of not even knowing what he's trying to do (i.e. to achieve revenge or acquire wealth). Littlefinger just acquires power because he likes doing it.
    • In the fourth novel, Littlefinger presents Sansa (still disguised as his natural daughter Alayne) his plan: he has made a marriage contract for her with Harrold Hardyng, who is currently Robert Arryn's heir. Since Robert's health is so poor, he probably will not live long (Littlefinger does not say if he intends to "help" him die); when he dies, Harrold will become Lord of the Vale. Sansa reminds Littlefinger that she is still married to Tyrion. He assures this is not a problem: "The dwarf wed Ned Stark’s daughter, not mine. Be that as it may. This is only a betrothal. The marriage must needs wait until Cersei is done and Sansa’s safely widowed". When the wedding takes place, only then Sansa will reveal her true identity. Then she will have it all - Harrold, the Eyrie and Winterfell.
    • Unlike in the show, Littlefinger does not plan any military campaign, nor does he says a word about the Boltons. His plans will take several years to accomplish; obviously, he does not mean to have Robert Arryn die so soon after his mother's death, for it will look very suspicious to Yohn Royce and other lords of the Vale, who loathe Littlefinger and keep an eye on him. Therefore, it is premature for him to plan any campaigns for the armies of the Vale. At that point in the books, it is unclear who (if at all) currently holds Winterfell.
  • The scene of Melisandre's exile from Jon is framed similarly to the scene where Daenerys exiled Ser Jorah after she learned about him spying on her. Both Melisandre and Jorah commit crimes that are later revealed to their leader (Jon, Daenerys), by a reliable but comparatively newer associate (Davos, Ser Barristan). Both Jon and Daenerys ask what the accused has to say in their defense. Both confess to their crime. As a result, instead of killing Melisandre/Jorah, Jon/Daenerys has them exiled, with the threat that they'll be executed if they ever return. Also, it ends with shots of the exiled person leaving and walking into the distance, with the one who has exiled them standing from a high point, watching them leave. This similar framing may be intended to reinforce Jon and Daenerys's positions as rightful leaders and/or as Targaryens.
  • Benioff and Weiss admit in the Blu-ray commentary that Lyanna Mormont's speech in this episode, being the first to declare Jon Snow the new King in the North, was a late addition put in only after they had both scripted and filmed Lyanna's debut scene in "The Broken Man". As they explained, Lyanna Mormont was originally only going to appear in that one episode, but they were so impressed with the performance of actress Bella Ramsey that they decided to show off her talents again by giving her an important speech in this episode. Apparently, this displaced whoever was going to hail Jon as the new King in the North in the originally scripted outline for Season 6.
    • Early casting calls for Season 6 seem to indicate that Lord Manderly would actually have given the speech in the original version - perhaps revealing that he had been a staunch Stark supporter all along (because "the North remembers") as he was in the novels. The final aired version simply has all of the vassals apologize for not following the Starks earlier - when in the books it was a major thematic point that they kept fighting for the Starks, because the Starks' honor had earned them undying loyalty from their vassals, while the Boltons' atrocities had alienated all of them. The exact report from stated: "He is a fat nobleman in his 60’s. He has distinctive rugged features, a Northern accent, and a distinguished air. Our source says he has a stirring speech during which he unexpectedly shifts political allegiance.[14]
    • The possibility remains that the Umbers were originally going to turn on the Boltons during the Battle of the Bastards in the TV version, but that this was cut when production ran overtime. As Sapochnik explained (see Notes for that episode) three more full days of filming were supposed to occur, but production ran overtime and these scripted scenes had to be abandoned. This may have been simply more action scenes, or they may have been scenes which drastically altered the plot. In the books, the Manderly and Umber armies are grudgingly marching with the Bolton army, but Lord Manderly secretly reveals to Davos that they plan to betray the Boltons, probably at a critical point in the upcoming battle. This would have been poetic justice, because both Roose and Ramsay rose to power in the North by betraying their own allies (both at the Red Wedding and several other battles), so the Manderlys and Umbers would be using the Bolton's own trick against them.
    • There were multiple clues that the TV series was setting this up earlier in the series: first, Roose repeatedly warned Ramsay that his pointless brutality (flaying Lord Cerwyn alive) was going to make all of the Northern vassals hate them so much they'd rebel even against the odds. Second, when Smalljon Umber agrees to unite his army with Ramsay, he makes it a point not to swear any oath of allegiance to him - pointing out that this didn't stop Roose from killing Robb Stark, but possibly a hint that Smalljon planned to turn against the Boltons, without being called an oathbreaker. Third, even in the same episode as the Battle of the Bastards, right before it starts Jon Snow insists to his war counsel that Ramsay's soldiers hate him and only serve him out of fear, and will turn on him the moment it looks like he is losing - ultimately this line had no payoff whatsoever.
    • If these fairly prominent hints that the Umbers were originally going to turn on the Bolton (but it was cut due to bad time management) turn out to be true, logically the originally scripted speeches given after the battle in this episode would have been quite different (before the rewrite adding in Lyanna Mormont again). In the books, several Stark vassals decide to rebel against the Boltons despite little hope, because they are so insulted that Ramsay raped Ned Stark's daughter (Jeyne Poole passed off as Arya Stark). In the final aired TV version, none of the Northern vassals make any comment about Sansa Stark's rape by Ramsay Bolton (a drastic condensation from the novels), and none of them are fighting to avenge it, so this doesn't even bear much similarity to Jeyne Poole's storyline from the books either.
    • Thus it is possible - albeit not confirmed - that the Umbers were, in fact, going to betray Ramsay at a key point in the Battle of the Bastards, causing the Bolton army's formation to collapse (something happened in the three days' worth of script that were thrown out). Subsequently, the Umbers and Manderlys would probably have given speeches to the effect that they were always loyal to the Starks and would never follow the honorless Ramsay Bolton after he raped Ned Stark's own daughter. In turn, when all of this was cut out so that the Northern vassals ultimately never turn against Ramsay, the accompanying speeches had to be thrown out. In which case, the confirmed last minute change to have Lyanna Mormont give a different speech, criticizing the other Northern leaders for their lack of participation, may have been made in an effort to address that fact that the Umbers and Manderlys never actually help the Starks in the final aired version (losing a key thematic point from the books about loyalty and honor) - and to smooth this over, the showrunners distracted the audience by giving the new, altered speech to Lyanna Mormont, whom by the showrunners' own description was one of the popular breakout roles of the season.
      • On the other hand, there is - at present - no direct confirmation that the content of the original speech was going to be different from the aired version, only that the identity of the speaker was changed from Wyman Manderly to Lyanna Mormont - at the least, it indicates that the Manderlys were somehow going to do more in the season in the original scripts.

In the Water Gardens[]

  • This episode marks the first time that Dorne has reappeared since the Season 6 premiere, when half of the recurring Dornish characters were hastily killed off in ways that do not match the books at all (see the "Coup in Dorne"). It appears that the showrunners abandoned the Dorne subplot when Season 6 began because they realized it wasn't working in Season 5 (it was widely condemned by critics).
  • In the books, Prince Doran Martell was actually a secret Targaryen loyalist this entire time, only feigning peace while planning to betray the Lannisters, and was not betrayed and murdered by his own family. In his second chapter, he explains this to his daughter and heiress Arianne Martell (also cut from the TV series), and says that he is sending envoys to Slaver's Bay, to bring their heart's desire (this line was given to Ellaria in the TV version). Arianne then asks him what he means, at which he quotes the Targaryen motto "Fire and Blood" - these lines were shifted to Varys in the TV version.
  • Several weeks after the Season 6 finale aired, actor Alexander Siddig (who played Doran Martell) gave a public interview in which he confirmed that his character was not originally supposed to die, and his sudden betrayal and death in the Season 6 premiere appears to have been an outright abandonment of the storyline that the showrunners did not intend when they started it. As Siddig explained, he was already contracted for at least four episodes in Season 6 - in advance, so that he was already paid for all four appearances even though he only ended up in one episode in the final version (a rather substantial amount of money given that he is a famous actor and not a background extra). Siddig also said that when Season 5 finished filming he was given no indication that his character would be killed off in Season 6, yet when filming resumed he received an abrupt and mysterious phone call from Benioff and Weiss claiming that they had "always" intended to kill off Doran in the season premiere (which Siddig instantly recognized as demonstrably a lie given that he had already been paid to appear in four episodes). In the novels, Doran was actually a secret Targaryen loyalist and even started sending envoys to Meereen to announce his support to Daenerys if and when she returns to Westeros. Siddig explained in the interview that this is actually how he played Doran in Season 5: whenever TV-Doran insisted he wanted peace, Siddig played it as if he was lying and planning to betray the Lannisters, giving shifty looks to his guards, even outright telling Areo to expect bloodshed soon. It is unknown exactly at what point the TV writers decided to make Ellaria Sand the new leader of Dorne, despite having no claim to the title whatsoever, though they admitted in an interview that they greatly enjoyed Indira Varma's performance as a more villainous Ellaria, which may have prompted them to kill off Doran and substitute him for Ellaria to give Varma more screen time and possibly portray Ellaria and the Sand Snakes in far more negative lights than in the novels in order to create new villains for the series (as was done with Smalljon Umber), given that the sixth season practically killed off a record number of villains, such as Alliser Thorne, Grand Maester Pycelle, Balon Greyjoy, and most notably Roose Bolton, Ramsay Bolton and Walder Frey, with very few remaining, such as Cersei Lannister, Petyr Baelish and the Night King, and introducing Euron Greyjoy.
  • Many professional reviews criticized the lackluster dialogue given to the Sand Snakes in Season 5. In particular, Tyene Sand's line in the Season 5 finale that "You want a good girl, but you need the bad pussy!" was widely cited as possibly the worst line in the history of the TV series, and near-universally described as "cringe-worthy" or "cringe inducing". The showrunners may have picked up on these criticisms: ultimately Tyene Sand didn't have a single speaking line during the two episodes she appeared in Season 6. In this episode, Tyene even tries to start speaking at one point but Olenna cuts her off and says she doesn't want to hear whatever she has to say - possibly a direct wink at the audience by the scriptwriters.
  • When the three Sand Snakes actresses first met on-set for Season 5, they actually put a lot of thought and effort into how the character dynamics between the three half-sisters and how they would play off each other: Obara is the blunt, militaristic one, who prefers to address threats head-on; Nymeria is the cunning, calculating one, preferring to hold back and assess the situation; Tyene is the youngest and most reckless, who just charges into situations impulsively into situations without thinking them through (much to the consternation of her sisters). Due to how drastically truncated the Dorne subplot ultimately became in Season 5, almost none of these actually managed to come across on-screen (Nymeria, in particular, had hardly any speaking lines in the final versions of their episodes in Season 5). Surprisingly, their short scene in this episode actually managed to briefly work some of these characterization points into what appears on-screen: Obara bluntly states the political situation to Olenna (not inaccurately but insensitively, like a soldier); Olenna gets annoyed at her candor, then Nymeria tries to intervene with more delicately phrased and diplomatic/strategic words. That this characterization finally comes across in this episode is probably helped by the fact that this is literally the first episode in which the Sand Snakes aren't trying to either kill or seduce someone, but are actually having a political conversation.
  • Olenna remarks that the last time a Tyrell came to Dorne he was assassinated, with 100 red scorpions. This refers to Lyonel Tyrell, who has been mentioned before in the animated Histories & Lore shorts, and lived about 140 years ago. During the Conquest of Dorne, the young King Daeron I Targaryen managed to subdue the Martells through a brilliant military campaign, but this was followed by a bitter Dornish insurgency which costs many thousands more men due to attrition. Daeron I left Lord Lyonel Tyrell behind as governor of occupied Dorne, but the Dornish so hated his rule that one day they laid a trap which dumped over a hundred poisonous scorpions onto his bed, killing him.
    • Culturally the men of the Reach and Dornishmen have been enemies for centuries, as have the Dornishmen and the Stormlanders' Marcher lords; their enmity waned slightly when Dorne joined the Seven Kingdoms, but increased again after Willas Tyrell was maimed by Oberyn Martell (Willas never resented Oberyn, though). This resentment is given more focus in the novels, but at the same time, the current generation of Martells hates the Lannisters far more for killing Elia, and both the Tyrells and Martells ironically ended up fighting on the Targaryen side in Robert's Rebellion. It was a simmering cultural resentment but didn't affect their major actions. The TV show removed much of this from when Oberyn Martell appears in King's Landing in Season 4 because due to time limitations they wanted to focus on the far more prominent Martell-Lannister rivalry. Nonetheless, this explains some of Olenna's brusque attitude towards Ellaria and the Sand Snakes: the Dornish have very relaxed attitudes about bastardy but the men of the Reach do not, and all of them are bastards. On top of that, in the books, Olenna looked down on Ellaria for being Oberyn's unmarried paramour, which calling her bluntly and openly "the Serpent's whore". Of course, in the TV version, Olenna is more immediately upset that Ellaria and the Sand Snakes murdered Prince Doran and his son, an act of betrayal and kinslaying.
    • In theory, the enmity between the Tyrells and Martells should have been greater than the hatred the Martells feel toward the Lannisters. Tyrion says that in the second novel "The Martells have every cause to hate us. Nonetheless, I expect them to agree. Prince Doran’s grievance against House Lannister goes back only a generation, but the Dornishmen have warred against Storm’s End and Highgarden for a thousand years". As it turns out, Tyrion was wrong and this was never a major factor in their decisions: in the second novel Varys reports that the Martells even seriously considered declaring for Renly, despite the fact that his main allies were the Tyrells, and it was only the marriage alliance with Princess Myrcella that swung them back to neutrality.
      • The reason is perhaps that specific and recent atrocities - let alone exceptionally savage ones, as the murder of Elia and her children - are burnt in memory much more vividly than general hostilities. Oberyn's death has also poured oil on the flames of Dorne's hatred toward the Lannisters, thus belittling any grudge that they (and the Martells in particular) have against the Tyrells.
  • Olenna says that Obara Sand looks like an angry boy. As briefly seen in the Season 5 finale, note that the few times that Obara doesn't wear leather armor, she actually wears men's clothing - her tunic is exactly like the one her father Oberyn Martell wore, not the dresses that the other Dornish women are wearing.
  • Two episodes ago Varys was shown leaving Meereen in a ship to head back to Westeros, explaining he was going to woo potential allies there. In the novels, it wasn't really clear where Varys went after Tyrion killed Tywin Lannister: he didn't appear again when Tyrion was let out of his crate in Pentos, nor did he travel to Meereen. Varys does reappear later in Westeros, but it is unclear if he traveled east to the Free Cities and then returned, or if he was in hiding in Westeros the entire time, still orchestrating his spy network.
  • In the books, it is actually Varys who kills Kevan Lannister and Pycelle, using his Little birds, in the epilogue of the fifth novel. He sneaks back into the Red Keep - or perhaps was hiding in the secret passages the entire time? - and smashes Pycelle's head in from behind as he sits at his desk. Kevan later arrives in the room and Varys shoots him with a crossbow, mortally wounding him. Varys then apologizes to Kevan that he's a good man who happens to be supporting the wrong side and he bears him no ill will. He explains that Kevan and Pycelle were doing too good of a job of undoing the damage which Cersei had caused the Lannister faction - and not only is he removing them, but he will frame their deaths on the Tyrells, further driving a wedge between Cersei and her few potential remaining allies. Varys then has his little birds come in and finish off the wounded Kevan. The TV version shifted this around so that Kevan dies in the Great Sept, while Pycelle gets more or less the same death he did in the book version - but in this case ordered by Varys's replacement Qyburn, and ultimately Cersei. It does make sense that Cersei would kill Pycelle in a purge, given that even he abandoned her and brought Kevan back to King's Landing to rule after he realized that Cersei's inept leadership was running the crown into the ground. Later parts of Varys's activities in the next novel will probably involve trying to court Dorne as an ally.
  • The Reach and Dorne were the two kingdoms in Westeros which actually fought on the Targaryen side during Robert's Rebellion, the Reach because the Tyrells owed their position to them (and thought the rebels were more likely to lose) and the Martells because Rhaegar married Princess Elia. The Dornish still actively hate the Lannisters for what they did killing Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell's children during the war.
    • This time, their allegiance is almost coincidental. Olenna is out for revenge against Cersei and Ellaria is in desperate need of allies. The Reach and Dorne happen to be the appropriate allies this time around.
    • This time around, the Targaryen side has several advantages: the North and the Vale aren't helping the Iron Throne, the Riverlands are in disarray, and the Iron Islands are divided into Euron's dangerous but currently grounded faction and Theon and Yara's Targaryen-aligned faction. This may enable Daenerys to take the Iron Throne, but given that the North is bigger than the remaining six kingdoms combined and it is now allied with the Vale, and both have declared independence, Daenerys may very well find her most powerful enemy yet in Jon Snow.
Myrcella leaves

Myrcella Baratheon was sent to Dorne by Tyrion Lannister, both to secure House Martell's alliance and to protect her from Stannis Baratheon's coming army.......


......which ironically led to her murder by Ellaria Sand, something which will undoubtedly plague Tyrion with guilt and prompt him to seek revenge.

  • Though Dorne now officially supports Daenerys Targaryen, another conflict may very well be coming from Daenerys's allies. Since Tyrion Lannister is Daenerys's Hand, he may not react well when he learns of Myrcella's murder, which he will correctly attribute to Ellaria and the Sand Snakes when he learns of Doran and Trystane's deaths. From Jaime and Cersei's children, Tyrion loved Myrcella and Tommen dearly, and the idea to betroth Myrcella to Trystane and send her to Dorne in order to keep her safe from Stannis Baratheon's attack was entirely his, despite Cersei's insistence that Myrcella would be in as much danger in Dorne as in King's Landing, if not more, due to the Martells' famous hatred for the Lannisters, which only intensified after the death of Oberyn Martell. Myrcella's death will surely plague Tyrion with grief and guilt, and he will likely demand justice against Ellaria for murdering Myrcella as a petty way of getting revenge on Cersei, especially since Myrcella was innocent of any crime and played no part in Oberyn's death.
  • Among the fleet there are ships with Dornish flags; this is a little unusual, as Dorne has never been a sea power, ever since Queen Nymeria destroyed 10,000 ships. Even though many years passed, the Dornish have never made any efforts to rebuild a fleet. Of course, in the books Tyrion says that every major House along the coasts keeps at least "a ship or three" as a local force to defend against pirates - their presence in Daenerys's fleet may just be a token sign of support.

In Meereen[]

  • Tyrion Lannister has now been formally named as Daenerys Targaryen's Hand of the Queen. The title shifts from "King" to "Queen" if the current monarch is female, as seen with previous references to Daenerys's "Queensguard" (Kingsguard).
    • That makes Tyrion the second character who officiates as a Hand of two monarchs since the beginning of the series - Joffrey and Daenerys. The first is Tywin, who was the Hand of Joffrey and Tommen.
  • Daenerys is well on her way to building up her own Small Council of capable advisors, even as Cersei in King's Landing destroyed what was left of her Small Council, rejecting any advisors in favor of her own unhinged judgement. Apart from Tyrion and the deceased Ser Barristan, none of Daenerys's advisers have been heard to have official titles, but her inner circle contains many of the necessary elements:
    • Tyrion is now Hand of the King/Queen to Daenerys just as his father Tywin was Hand of the King to Daenerys's father Aerys II.
    • Varys stands immediately behind Daenerys, next to Missandei. Whether he is formally her Master of Whisperers or not, it is clear that she has gotten over her suspicions of him (which she voiced to Tyrion before, as he arrived in Meereen only after she left).
    • It is unclear if she also named or will name Yara Greyjoy as her new Master of Ships. It's possible she didn't/won't, given that Yara seeks independence for the Iron Islands.
    • Missandei's position has usually been as Daenerys's handmaiden, but given her intelligence and experience working alongside Tyrion, she would make an appropriate Master of Laws.
    • Although he commands Unsullied and not knights, Grey Worm performs the role of military adviser that the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard is usually expected to fill.
  • As Daenerys directly explains, her followers have renamed "Slaver's Bay" as the "Bay of Dragons", because with slavery being abolished the old name doesn't really fit anymore. In ancient times this actually was the heart of the Valyrian Freehold as they flew dragons over the bay to conquer the Ghiscari Empire - so the bay has seen a large number of dragons throughout history, making it appropriate even if not a direct reference to the second siege of Meereen's conclusion.
  • In the episode, while breaking up with Daario Naharis, Daenerys insists that no one put her up to it. In the "Inside the Episode" featurette, however, Benioff says that Tyrion actually did bring this up to Daenerys - but Benioff also stressed that Tyrion didn't "manipulate" Daenerys in any way, and the choice was entirely her own: Tyrion simply pointed out to her a very obvious and logical question of how she would tempt the Great Houses in Westeros with offers of a political marriage-alliance if she brought along her foreign sellsword consort. She realized things with Daario simply wouldn't work out given her future political requirements, and decided on her own to leave him behind in Meereen.
    • Daario's suggestion to lead an attack on Casterly Rock to cut off the Lannisters appears to echo Robb Stark's proposal to do the same in the third season, in order to make the Lannisters look bad by taking their ancestral seat of power from them (given that Robb lost Winterfell to the Greyjoys, to whom he had ironically promised to give Casterly Rock if they aided them against the Lannisters). Robb, however, was slain at the Red Wedding before he could attempt this. Given that Casterly Rock will appear in Season 7, it is possible that Daenerys will take Daario's advice on taking the Lannister's ancestral seat of power.
  • Daenerys previously dressed in bright blue riding outfits, because blue is the Dothraki power color (as it is their most expensive color dye). Then. in Season 5, she shifted to white dresses, to emphasize how removed and above it all she seems from the sectarian violence in Meereen. By the end of this episode, Daenerys is wearing the same cut of dress she wore in Season 5, but now in all black - from the red and black colors of the Targaryen heraldry. Apparently, this signifies Daenerys embracing her legacy as a Targaryen and a conqueror as she sails back to Westeros. See "Costumes/Major characters - Daenerys Targaryen" for more information.
  • The leaders of all four of the Great Houses that make up armies in Daenerys's faction now are women: Daenerys herself for House Targaryen, Yara Greyjoy and her faction of House Greyjoy, Olenna for House Tyrell, and Ellaria Sand for Dorne. Meanwhile, the Lannisters are now also formally led by a woman as Cersei has not only killed her uncle Kevan but openly seized power and declared herself ruling Queen.
  • It is unclear how Varys could travel so quickly between Meereen a few episodes ago to Dorne, then from Dorne back to Meereen in this same episode. However, the closing scene implies that some time has passed, and also, the fact that ships with Tyrell and Martell sails are with Daenerys's fleet somewhat implies that there has been a time jump and they are near Westeros's waters in this closing shot (as we don't actually see "Meereen", they are on the open ocean). For all we know, Varys took a Martell ship heading east which rendezvoused with Daenerys's fleet heading west somewhere south of the Free Cities.
    • It is unclear why Varys would leave Westeros to rejoin Daenerys when she is headed there anyway - the TV show probably just wanted a large scale closing shot of Daenerys with her full fleet and all her allies, a preview of what's coming next season.
    • The ships with Tyrell banners in Daenerys's fleet in the closing shot may, in fact, be part of the Redwyne fleet. If you look closely, you can see that some of their sails bear the purple grapes of the Redwynes instead of the golden rose of the Tyrells.
    • In Daenerys's fleet, Dothraki can be seen working on the ships. In the Season 3 premiere "Valar Dohaeris", however, the Dothraki that Dany had brought with her became violently seasick, as Dothraki have never sailed or ridden on ships before - they fear and avoid the ocean. Thus, it is surprising that not only are the Dothraki in Daenerys's fleet not seasick, many of them are working as ship hands. One explanation could be that this is another indication that a significant amount of time has passed since they left Mereen by the time of this closing shot, so the Dothraki could have gotten adjusted to the sea by then.
  • Although Daenerys and her army are now sailing to Westeros, it is unclear in the episode where in Westeros they are going to land. It is revealed in the eponymous episode that their destination is Dragonstone, due to its symbolic status as the ancestral Targaryen holding, the fact that Daenerys was born there, and that its strategic position would allow her to effectively blockade Blackwater Bay and any approach to King's Landing by sea (much as Stannis did in Season 2). The island is revealed to be vacant due to Stannis having moved all of his forces to the Wall before his attack on Winterfell.
    • In the novels, Stannis actually leaves a garrison behind at Dragonstone (as would be logical in virtually any situation) when he sails to the Wall, under the command of Rolland Storm. The castle is later laid siege to by the Redwyne fleet. However, after the ironborn capture the Shield Islands and begin to raid the Reach, Loras asks Cersei for the command, as he believes Lord Paxter is taking too long, and wishes to free up the fleet as to defend his home. Cersei agrees, hoping that Loras will die in the battle. The subsequent battle was an unnecessary bloodbath in which Dragonstone was captured, but at a steep cost, with almost a thousand men killed (most of them Lannister loyalists), and Loras Tyrell left gravely wounded.
  • In Season 5's "Hardhome", Tyrion lists the current Great Houses of Westeros that either cannot or will not pledge their allegiance to Daenerys, such as House Stark (Robb Stark may have supported Daenerys, but he was betrayed and killed at the Red Wedding), House Lannister (they betrayed the Mad King), House Baratheon (as Stannis was also claiming the Iron Throne) and House Tyrell (though Tyrion claimed that they might switch sides due to Cersei's schemes against them, but would not be enough). He did not, however, mention Houses Arryn, Martell, and Greyjoy. Of those three, House Arryn, under Petyr Baelish is now allied with House Stark, who are seeking independence from the Iron Throne (though Baelish appears to be scheming to challenge Jon's rule over the North), but the Martell army (headed by the Sands) and a faction of the Greyjoys (under Theon and Yara) have declared for Daenerys, and the Tyrells, now led by Olenna Redwyne, have done exactly what Tyrion once suspected they might do. House Baratheon is now extinct and the Lannisters have lost the bulk of their power due to Cersei's actions.
    • The main question is now raised, however, by the Northern forces. House Stark is headed by Jon Snow, who has now been revealed to be the secret son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, making him Daenerys's nephew by blood. Even though Bran Stark, as the son of Lyanna's older brother, Eddard, may have a stronger claim to the North, Jon may very well have the strongest claim so far to the Iron Throne, if he is Rhaegar's legitimate son and not his bastard, given that at the time he was married to Elia Martell of Dorne and had two children with her. For Jon's part, it remains to be seen if he will ally with Daenerys to confront the Night King, or if he will be forced to fight her for the North's independence. Though Daenerys has assembled her army and is setting sail for Westeros, Jon, as both a Stark and a Targaryen, now effectively stands as the last major obstacle in her quest to retake the Seven Kingdoms, as he can either prove to become her most valuable ally, or her greatest enemy yet.

In the books[]

Main page: Differences in adaptation/Game of Thrones: Season 6#"The Winds of Winter"
  • The episode is adapted from the following chapters of A Game of Thrones:
    • Chapter 5, Jon I: During King Robert's visit, Jon sits away from his family during the feast and is seated with squires of similar age to him. Benjen notices this and asks Jon about this, noting that Jon usually sits with his family.
    • Chapter 39, Eddard X: A flashback of Lyanna Stark's death scene. She begs Ned to promise her something.
  • The episode is adapted from the following chapters of A Storm of Swords:
  • The episode is adapted from the following chapters of A Feast for Crows:
    • Chapter 12, Cersei III: Cersei destroys part of the city by using wildfire.
    • Chapter 39, Cersei IX: People are tortured at Cersei's command.
    • Chapter 40, The Princess in the Tower: The ruler of Dorne reveals he's aligned with House Targaryen and that it's time for "Vengeance. Justice. Fire and blood."
    • Chapter 45, Samwell V: Samwell Tarly arrives at the Citadel and has to deal with a bureaucrat of the Order of Maesters.
  • The episode is adapted from the following chapters of A Dance with Dragons:
    • Chapter 19, Davos III: Davos Seaworth and Lord Wyman Manderly witness a young northern noblewoman deliver a moving speech about loyalty to House Stark.
    • Chapter 29, Davos IV: Lord Wyman Manderly confirms his loyalty to House Stark.
    • Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell: Meat pies - made out missing Freys - are served by a member of the northern nobility to other Freys in revenge for the Red Wedding.
    • Epilogue: Grand Maester Pycelle is killed. Varys's little birds stab a member of the Small Council to death. The master of the little birds apologizes to one of his victims, stating that he doesn't bear him any ill will and that he doesn't deserve to die alone. Ser Kevan Lannister is killed. Varys is back in Westeros to pave the way for the restoration of House Targaryen. White ravens sent by the Citadel arrive on a major castle, confirming that winter has arrived.
  • The rest of the episode appears to draw material from what will come in the sixth novel, The Winds of Winter.






  1. In "Winter Is Coming," which takes place in 298 AC, Sansa Stark tells Cersei Lannister that she is 13 years old and Bran Stark tells Jaime Lannister that he is 10 years old. Arya Stark was born between Sansa and Bran, making her either 11 or 12 in Season 1. The rest of the Stark children have been aged up by 2 years from their book ages, so it can be assumed that she is 11 in Season 1. Arya is 18 in Season 8 according to HBO, which means at least 7 years occur in the span of the series; therefore, each season of Game of Thrones must roughly correspond to a year in-universe, placing the events of Season 6 in 303 AC.
  2. In "The Kingsroad," which takes place in 298 AC, Catelyn Stark states that Eddard Stark went to war with Robert Baratheon "17 years ago;" therefore, Robert's Rebellion occurred in 281 AC.

External links[]