‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6 Finale Recap: Game, Sept, Match
Game of Thrones Season 6 Cersei
Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO    

Game of Thrones

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6 Finale Recap: Game, Sept, Match


The Game of Thrones Season 6 finale literally ended this chapter of the HBO drama with a bang, thanks to one character who just wanted to see the world burn. Here’s a full recap of all the explosive drama from the June 26 episode.

King’s Landing

From her window in the Red Keep, Cersei gazes at the Great Sept on the other side of town — this is the foreboding calm before the storm.

The trials commence, and Loras pleads guilty. The High Sparrow drones on about the Mother’s Mercy and has him emblazoned with the seven-pointed star, welcoming him into the Faith.

Cersei is a no-show for her trial, however, so the High Sparrow sends minion Lancel Lannister to find her. On his way, he’s distracted by one of the “little birds,” who lure him to the city’s tunnels, where Qyburn and the other birds are busy assassinating Pycelle. One of the birds stabs Lancel, too, but he lives long enough to see candles melting down and threatening to ignite the nearby puddles and barrels of wildfire, the Mad King’s reserves.

Margaery tries warning the High Sparrow that Cersei wouldn’t be absent unless she somehow knew she wouldn’t have to face the consequences, but he won’t listen. Margaery tries escaping the Great Sept, but she doesn’t succeed.

Lancel tries blowing out the candles, but the wildfire ignites, blowing up the entire Great Sept and indeed much of the city — and presumably killing the Sparrow and Margaery. 

From her perch in the Red Keep, Cersei watches the havoc she has wrought, casually sipping from her wine glass.

Later, Cersei chains Septa Unella to a table, explaining how she understands Unella’s wanting to do things — like torturing Cersei, in Unella’s case — just because they feel good. But then Cersei introduces Unella to Gregor. All we hear is Unella screaming as Cersei leaves the room. “Shame,” Cersei says. “Shame. Shame.”

Game of Thrones Season 6 finale, The Winds of Winter, Loras Tyrell, High Sparrow
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Tommen, however, is also safe in the Red Keep, having been blocked from leaving for the Great Sept by the Mountain. He too watches the destruction, but he takes off his crown and jumps from his window, committing suicide.

Later, Cersei examines Tommen’s body. “Burn him,” she tells the undertaker. “Bury his ashes where the Sept once stood.”

When Jaime returns from Riverrun — read about that below! — he’s perturbed to see King’s Landing in flames. He bears witness as Cersei walks to the Iron Throne and sits down, with Qyburn declaring her queen.

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 4: Tommen
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Olenna Tyrell, dressed in black, meets with Ellaria Sand. The Sand Snakes mouth off, but Olenna hisses back: “Let the grown women speak.”

Ellaria offers Olenna “vengeance, justice.” She rings a bell, and Varys (!) steps out from the shadows, adding, “Fire and blood.”


Ellaria on Game of Thrones Season 5 Finale
Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO © 2015 Home Box Office    

The Citadel

In the episode’s other aside, Samwell Tarly, Gilly, and her child arrive at the Citadel. Sam meets with the Citadel equivalent of a receptionist and hands over Jon’s letter saying Samwell is to be the new maester. The guy is a bit behind the times and contends Jeor Mormont the Lord Commander, not Jon.

“This is highly irregular,” the receptionist says.

“Well, I suppose that life is irregular,” Samwell muses.

The guy says the archmaester will deal with the irregularities and leads Samwell to a massive library. Samwell tears up at the sight of all those beautiful books.

Game of Thrones, Samwell Tarly
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The Twins

Walder Frey celebrates the Frey-Lannister alliance at a big feast, telling his crowd their new motto: “The Freys and the Lannisters send their regards.” But Jaime later puts him in his place, telling him the Lannisters are always the one who have to regain control of Riverrun.

Later, when Walder is alone in the hall, a servant girl serves him some bread. Once he establishes the girl isn’t his own, he lasciviously spanks her… and asks her where his “moron sons are.”

“They’re already here,” she says. He peels back the crust of the bread before him to see a finger baked in.

“They weren’t easy to carve,” the girl says. “Especially Black Walder.”

That’s when she takes off her face and reveals herself to be Arya. Right before she slices his throat, she says, “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 on you as you die.”

Game of Thrones Season 6 finale, The Winds of Winter, Jaime Lannister, Walder Frey
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Ser Davos exposes Melisandre’s role in Shireen’s burning-at-the-stake to Jon, and Melisandre tells the Lord Commander it’s what her lord commanded. (See what we did there?)

“If he commands you to burn children, your lord is evil,” Davos tells her.

Davos wants Melisandre executed, and she’s not afraid of that prospect — “I’ve been ready to die for many years,” she says — but she tells Jon she can help him win the war against the White Walkers.

“Ride south today. If you return to the North, I’ll have you hanged as a murderer,” Jon tells her.

Game of Thrones Season 6 finale, The Winds of Winter, Ser Davos Seaworth
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Later, Jon and Sansa have a heart-to-heart in which she tells him he’s a Stark in her mind — and she apologizes for keeping her Knights of the Vale plot from him but assures him she doesn’t trust Littlefinger.

She also says a white raven has arrived from the Citadel. “Winter is here,” she says.

Littlefinger later finds Sansa alone and explains he has only pursued a future in which he’s on the Iron Throne and she’s by his side. He tries kissing her, but she turns him down. But he tells her he’s spreading the word of her being the victor, not Jon.

Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 9 Sansa, Jon Snow
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In Winterfell’s great hall, the various houses of the north hold a meeting to talk about the upcoming winter, the coldest in a thousand years. Many houses want to hunker down and wait out the storm, but Jon says their shared enemy (i.e. the White Walkers) won’t wait to attack them.

After Lady Marmont shames all the houses that didn’t step up for the Starks before last week’s big battle, they all declare him King in the North.

Amid the cheering, Sansa catches Littlefinger smiling at her ominously. (Gross.)

Littlefinger Game of Thrones
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Daenerys tells Daario he’s not going to Westeros and he’s instead staying at the Bay of Dragons (her new, post-emancipation name for Slaver’s Bay). She argues she’ll likely need to marry a king to hold power in Westeros, and he says he’ll be her mistress if that’s what it takes. “I love you, and I make you happy,” he says. “Bring me with you. Let me fight for you.” But she doesn’t relent.

After bidding him farewell, she debriefs with Tyrion, who praises her self-sacrifice. She says she feels frightened for the future, but only because she felt nothing while saying goodbye to a man whom she loved. Tyrion says she’s the first thing he has ever believed in.

She names him Hand of the Queen, a role he humbly and gratefully accepts.

Game of Thrones Season 6 finale, The Winds of Winter, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister
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Beyond the Wall

Benjen takes his leave of  Bran and Meera, saying he’ll fight against the White Walkers when it’s time.

And no sooner does Bran embrace his role as the new Three-Eyed Raven than he has a vision of Ned running up to the Tower of Joy to find his sister Lyanna bleeding out, having just delivered a baby boy. “You have to protect him,” she tells him. “Promise me, Ned.”

This vision doesn’t only prove that Ned isn’t Jon’s father, it seemingly proves the popular R+L=J fan theory, assuming Lyanna’s baby daddy is Rhaegar Targaryen.

Game of Thrones Season 6 finale, The Winds of Winter, Bran Stark
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The Narrow Sea

Yara and Theon lead their huge navy, which now includes Daenerys, Tyrion, Varys (who must have teleported from Dorne), and three handy dragons. See you in Season 7, people!