REVIEW: Game of Thrones S6E10 The Winds of Winter
TODAY'S season finale of Game of Thrones might not have been the big-budget epic of last week, but it featured plenty of dramatic power plays.
In a dramatic episode opener, Cersei's master plan to avoid her trial by the Faith Militant was revealed.
She used Wildfire to destroy the Holy Sept with the Tyrells and the High Sparrow all inside.
But her master plan wasn't without its consequences, with her son King Tommen devastated by the loss and jumping to his death.
With a power vaccum in King's Landing, Cersei was later left to take back the Iron Throne. But it appears the move will put her at odds with her brother Jaime, who returned just in time to see her crowned.
Episode 10 also set up several characters for next season.
A longstanding fan theory was also confirmed as Jon Snow was revealed, via a flashback seen by Bran Stark, to be the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, making him Daenerys's nephew.
Declared the King in the North as the houses of the region rallied around him, Snow and his sister Sansa will face threats from both sides - the Lannisters in the south and the Night King north of The Wall.
The season closed with Daenerys setting sail for Westeros with a massive fleet of ships, carrying the Unsullied, Dothraki and other supporters like the Greyjoys, and her three dragons in tow.
Here are the key points we took away from The Winds of Winter:
"Your Grace, the trial will be getting underway soon."
Cersei looks out over King's Landing, King Tommen, Margaery Tyrell and the High Sparrow all get ready: we are about to start with the long-awaited trial.
The first words of this episode are as much for the viewer as it is King Tommen.
Lloras Tyrell, who has spent much of the last full season locked in a cell, is the first to be brought before the High Sparrow.
He confesses to all of his crimes before the Seven and accepts whatever punishment is just, and offers to pledge his life to the Seven. In doing so, he abandons everything that makes him a Tyrell: his name, his House, and Highgarden.
Cersei's turn is next, but beforehand we see the reanimated Mountain prevent Tommen from attending the Sept of Baelor.
It's all part of her plan.
Grand Master Pycelle is the first to go, courtesy of a group of murderous children, then Lancel, the Faith Militant's leader, is crippled below King's Landing.
A familiar green hue, which we saw for the first time during Bran's flashback when we saw former King Aerys call for everybody to be burned.
An incredible opening 20 minutes that may have reduced our known characters' population by about 10%.
The Septons, the majority of the Tyrells, the High Sparrow, and countless civilians were all wiped out in seconds. Tommen followed shortly afterwards by his own accord.
Cersei sits upon the Iron Throne
The shock death of Tommen paved the way for Cersei Lannister to sit upon the Throne.
She has expertly played the Game of Thrones for six season, manipulating and scheming her way to power.
"House Tully belonged to House Tully for a thousand years, now it's mine."
Walder Frey has been one of the most disliked men since the Red Wedding three seasons ago.
He has not had much screen time during the time since, but his short exchange with Jaime Lannister firmly put the Red Wedding's architect in his place.
We later returned to Walder Frey, who sits alone as a woman brings him food.
The reality of his meal takes a while to digest, but the discovery of a human body part exposed a much darker secret, but a moment we have all waited for.
"The last thing you're ever going to see is a Stark smiling at you as you die."
Arya Stark, the girl who became No One, removed her disguise and finally gained revenge on the man we have hated for years.
Arya returned to Westeros two weeks ago, and has already crossed another name off her list.
Will she now go North to Winterfell? We'll have to wait a while to learn.
"I'm the three-eyed raven; I have to be ready for this."
It is everything we have waited weeks to learn.
Moments after long-lost Stark Uncle Benjen left, Bran touched the weirwood tree and we travelled back to the Tower of Joy.
We see Lady Lyanna in a bed but covered in blood. Young Ned enters the room and they share a quiet conversation, ending with this killer quote.
"You have to protect him. Promise me Ned, promise me."
We didn't hear what she said but the appearance of a baby, the long focus on his face and the swift change to Jon Snow's face seemingly confirmed the "R+L=J" theory.
Lyanna was kept in the Tower of Joy, apparently held there by Rhaegar Targaryen.
A dying Lyanna, covered in blood, whispers to Ned that *someone* will kill the child if the secret is discovered.
Jon Snow is then proclaimed King of the North after an epic speech from Lady Mormont, but there is one person who didn't add his voice: Littlefinger.
Petr Baelish may know the truth behind Jon's origin, but his unsuccessful marriage bid to Sansa may provide some fuel to uncovering the secret next season.
"Tell him what you did to her. Tell him!"
Davos' confronted Melisandre with the gift of which he gave to Shireen Baratheon. He found it last week under a pile of smouldering stakes.
He finally faced Melisandre with Jon Snow, and after she admitted to what was done he requested they execute the Red Witch.
Jon Snow's decision was surprising.
Ned Stark and other Lords have had a solid hand when it came to discipline, particularly after crimes.
He allowed her mercy, but said she must ride south and would be executed if she was to return.
As he watched her leave, Sansa Stark, the architect of last week's victory at the Battle of the Bastards, approached.
She admitted she should have told Jon about her request of reinforcements (that could've saved a few more lives Sansa, bit late now), then passed on news a white raven had arrived.
Why is that significant? The white raven signifies Winter has come.
"Father had always promised hadn't he?" was all he said.
"The last time a Tyrell came to Dorne he was assassinated"
Olenna Tyrell happens to pop up at Dorne after the massacre at King's Landing.
Dorne has traditionally been the least interesting part of Game of Thrones, though Olenna's arrival certainly added some spice.
The subtext appears to suggest the Dornish, with Olenna, are happy to face King's Landing, and Varys' surprising arrival only added heat to the theory.
Sam finally reaches the Citadel
It is the mission on which Samwell Tarly was sent by Jon Snow, and he may finally have completed part of it.
He was sent to the Citadel to be trained as a maester, with the intention to take over Aemon Mormont at Castle Black.
After a short visit to his family's home, he and Gilly finally arrived.
As the Citadel sought to clarify the discrepancy about Castle Black's maesters (they weren't informed of Aemon's death), Sam was allowed access to the library.
Winter has arrived. Now, the dragons are coming
The final shot of Game of Thrones' seasons are always a preview of what to expect the following season, and The Winds of Winter is anything on which to judge it is set to be fiery.
Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, Theon and Yara Greyjoy stand at the front of hundreds of ships, bound for Westeros.
Moments after seeing Jon Snow proclaimed King of the North and Cersei Lannister take her seat on the Iron Throne, Dany's imposing fleet - and the accompanying three dragons - promise to make Game of Thrones' seventh season one of the biggest yet.