I gave this episode a 92 out of 100.
Overall I loved the episode. This one was packed with story lines.
It was visually stunning and a few character story lines were finished spectacularly. There were others satisfying in a hollow way because I felt they were set up to shock us with reveals rather than give us natural story telling with the detail and character development they
- Miguel Sapochnik once again displayed some wonderful angles with photography and images; I loved the one of Drogon dipping his wings in the water as he flies towards the front of Dany’s fleet. I put the past two episodes along with Hardhome as the most visually arresting of the series; all done by this man. Well done!
- Confirmation that Jon Snow is Leanna and Rhaegar’s son was exciting. We know he’s Rhaegar’s son because he is being guarded by the best swords in the Targaryen forces because he’s the legacy. I suppose it’s impactful to know about Jon’s true lineage as he’s being declared King by his own merits, however that impact they were striving for was quickly clobbered for me when the Manderlies, Mormonts, Glovers and other Houses swore fealty to Jon as King of the North and said they would follow him regardless of his lineage. They don’t know he’s half Targaryen and it wouldn’t appear it would matter if they did. When will it really matter? Why didn’t they reveal it next season? It certainly would have had more impact on the story line then it does here.
- There was some nice callbacks with Naming the King of the North; Shame with Cersei; Walder Frey getting his throat cut just like Caitlin; Freys and the Lannisters sending their regards.
- Wow, so many lives extinguished in such a short time so spectacularly not far into the episode! I was expecting Loras, Margaery, High Sparrow, Mace, Kevan to all buy it at the same time to avoid Cersei facing her trial. Lancel, Tommen and Pycelle all had unexpected ways of dying for me. (I suppose Tommen has been dying of a broken heart for a while; the Sept explosion just sealed the deal.) It reminded me of Michael Corleone sequence having his enemies executed at the end of God Father II or Heisenberg in Breaking Bad in the last season executing his enemies.
- This totally establishes for me how evil, vindictive and sadistic Cersei has become. She was so cold about dealing with Tommen’s remains and her reaction to his suicide. Her speech to Septa Unella was the polar opposite to that of Loras. Did part of Ramsay’s soul drift into her mind after he died? Especially the way Jaime has been looking at her. It’s pretty clear they are done as a couple and are far apart with the way they look at things. (See the Unknown.)
- Walder Frey and his sons meeting their end was satisfying (however it was a bit hollow in some ways – See the Bad.)
- I love how Cersei thinks she beat the Witches Prophecy by killing Margaery and the irony we feel from knowing Dany is on the way with Tyrion!
- The Queen of Thorns lines to the Sand Snakes had me erupting with laughter.
- Old Town and the Citadel were wonderful nods to the Lighthouse and Library of Alexandria in our own history.
- Ser Davos’s scene with Mel and Jon had a great message of those who get away with ending human lives in the name of their religion.
- Dany making Tyrion the Hand of the Queen was touching.
- Ser Davos’ scene with Mel and Jon was emotional however, letting Mel go without paying a price for killing Shireen was weak sauce for me.
- Once again I felt like what matters to the writers is the shocking of the audience with surprises; story and characterization come second, so the story and details come out sketchy and things are not as impactful as they should be because I am distracted. Arya avenging Caitlin by killing Walder Frey is the important thing here and the sense of how we get there is secondary or not as important. I had a hard time believing Arya can use faces since the last time she did that she lost her sight. Perhaps it’s okay now that she is technically ‘No one’. I am still having issues understanding what powers she gleaned from the Faceless men. Can she also shape shift and move around as swiftly as Jaqen? I have to really forcibly suspend my disbelief and I wouldn’t have had to if they had spent more time developing Arya’s mystique in Braavos. I wrote a piece about that here. Perhaps when she put the Waif’s face in the House of Black and White she exchanged it for the face of the serving wench and took it with her for later use? Either Walder Frey eats very late in the evening (when everyone’s asleep) or Arya used Harry Potter’s Cloak of invisibility to murder everyone in the Hall and the Kitchen as well in order to be able to drag the bodies of the Frey brothers into the kitchen undetected; cut them up into small pieces and bake them into pies.
- Heavy use of the Little Finger’s Teleporter by Varys and Arya. BTW: How did Olenna hear so quickly that her son, grandson and granddaughter are all dead? The only way I can make it work in my head is that the scenes between Ellaria and Olenna occurred some time after Cersei became Queen of King’s Landing. So we are fast forwarding through time.
- Qyburn told Cersei there was more Wildfire then they expected. I was surprised all of King’s Landing didn’t go up. Perhaps the Sept had a lot of real estate where enough stone kept other wildfire caches from igniting? (See the Unknown).
- I believe they are implying Septa Unella is going to be raped and assaulted (possibly tortured) until she dies very slowly and Cersei wants her to see her face as she’s dying, which if true is a bit much for me. However, I didn’t see any torture weapons in her chamber. When the Mountain was at Harrenhall he had someone else doing the torturing. He has always come across to me as someone who will crush your skull or rip out your spine rather than inflict small amounts of assault although I could be wrong.
- Not much from Dorne; just par for the course. See Unknown.
- Samwell leaves Gilly and Little Sam standing there in the Lobby of the Citadel while he uses his stack privileges at the Citadel Library which apparently has hundreds of stacks! That was silly. Why isn’t he getting her situated in Old Town first? I think they wanted to awe us with images of the Library rather than make story sense again. Samwell already knew ladies and babies were not welcome there. He told Gilly that in the coach on the way to Hornhill. Come on writers!
- Sansa’s character and the situation at Winterfell is a little muddy. Is she really smart enough to allow Jon to become the Lord of Winterfell so Little Finger can’t marry her and become Lord of Winterfell (once he creates a baby with her and then murders her like her Aunt Lysa)? Or is she not contesting the King of the North proclamations because she doesn’t want folks to know she was behind bringing Little Finger there to save Jon’s Army (undermining Jon’s victory and making Jon look as bad as he was at commanding his troops in battle)?
- Does Jon have the unburnt quality that Dany has? How will Dany learn that Jon is a Targaryen as well as a Stark?
- How does Sansa feel about Jon being declared the King of the North? Why didn’t they proclaim her Queen of North over him? He’s a bastard and they don’t usually have privileges for titles. Will she support him or scheme to become Queen of the North? Cersei told Little Finger he would be Ward of the North if he got rid of the Boltons (S5E9). Now they are gone and the Starks are in power how will he claim his prize from Cersei? Will he? What are is plans now> What are Sansa’s?
- Who is Cersei’s Hand?
- There is definitely a rift now between Cersei and Jaime. Will he confront Cersei about what she has done or will he just leave King’s Landing? Will the Lannisters side with Dany?
- If wildfire was in caches under the entire city why did just the Sept blow up? Wouldn’t that fire set off a chain reaction all over King’s Landing?
- Is Mel headed to meet the Brothers without Banners? Mel did say to Arya she would meet here again. Will Mel meet Arya in the Riverlands?
- Will Arya hook back up with Hot pie and perhaps Gendry? Is Arya likely to meet the Hound again?
- Are there other Tyrells that can run The Reach if something happens to Lady Olenna? Perhaps she has relatives that were relatives of perhaps her own brothers or sisters? Or is House Tyrell on it’s last legs?
- Since the Vale helped the Starks defeat the Boltons how is Little Finger going to explain that to Cersei since she still believes Sansa is responsible for Joffrey’s death? He already made a deal with Cersei to get rid of the Boltons to achieve the title of Warden of the North. The King of The North is going to put a dent in his plans for sure.
- Will Dany first take over Dragonstone before heading to the Red Keep? That makes the most sense since that was originally the Targaryen stronghold on Westeros.
- Are the Tyrell’s and the Dornish have their boats and troop support mixed in with Dany’s fleet or will they join her once she makes it over the Narrow Sea?
- Is Bran headed to Winterfell? How is Meera going to get Bran to the other side of the Wall? Benjen didn’t provide them a sled or anything. Is he going through the secret tunnel through the Night Fort? Can the White Walkers go through the Tunnel to the Night Fort?
- What did Dorne and the Reach provide to Varys? Ships? Men? Supplies? Who supplied what? Did both Dorne and the Reach send things to Dany or will Dany just get there and they will help her conquer and provide things once she gets to Westeros?
- Isn’t Samwell concerned about his father seeking him out at the Citadel to get back Heartsbane? He knows Sam is going there to study to be a Maester.
- It appears Daario and Dany are done. Who will end up in Cersei’s bed in Westeros? Will she end up marrying Jon? Targaryen’s do intermarry. It makes the most sense.