Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold, Hot, or With a Smile On 'Game of Thrones'
Digging through the body count after "The Winds of Winter."
Vengeance ripped through the "The Winds of Winter" like
dropped the curtain on season six by tying up loose ends and setting the stage for next year. The overwhelming theme of the episode was revenge and, now, as the beloved HBO series enters its final two years (showrunners predict two more shortened seasons), the finish line is appearing through the smoke. Here\'s a breakdown of all the acts of revenge from last night and what the future implications are for each:
(Major spoilers for the show, books, and possible future spoilers ahead.)
1. Cersei Kills the High Sparrow, Lancel Lannister, and the Other Sparrows.
Cause: Cersei made The High Sparrow the High Septon of King\'s Landing after her father\'s death. Once in power, the "humble" man proceeded to imprison the powerful with righteous determination. This included Cersei herself, who was locked in a dungeon based on charges of adultery, regicide and incest (Lancel ratted her out). Her penance was the Walk of Atonement.
Revenge: Cersei lit the cache of wildfire beneath the Great Sept and blew it to smithereens, incinerating The High Sparrow, Lancel, and everyone else.
Next: We saw Cersei take the Iron Throne at the end of the episode so, short-term, she\'s the big winner (despite Tommen\'s suicide). She\'s emphatically separated church and state, to say the least. But Jaime looked dismayed upon returning home to see what his sister had done. He killed the Mad King for threatening a similar offense. Cersei\'s Mad Queen rage may cost her her relationship with Jaime. Long-term, Cersei is dead. She\'s a mere seat-warmer for Daenerys Targaryen who\'s on her way to Westeros with legions behind her...not to mention three dragons. It\'s only a matter of time before Cersei is unseated by Ms. Stormborn, although she may take the entirety of King\'s Landing with her if she is. There\'s still plenty of wildfire left.
2. Cersei Kills Margaery, Loras, and Mace Tyrell
Cause: Margaery was everything Cersei wasn\'t. And Cersei recognized in Margaery that the end was near. Initially engaged to Joffrey after the death of Renly Baratheon, Margaery became the voice in the young king\'s head, replacing his calculating mother. Cersei could see the truth. She could see Margaery\'s influence and her subtle maneuverings. And she hated her for it.
Revenge: Maergary could sense something was amiss in the Sept. Cersei wasn\'t there. Tommen wasn\'t there. "We have to leave!" Seconds later, she was ash, along with her brother and father, casualties of Cersei\'s wildfire attack along with the sparrows. You have to think Cersei\'s main target was the Sparrow, but killing Margaery may have felt sweeter for her.
Next: House Tyrell is essentially wiped out. In the books, Margaery and Loras have two other brothers, but the show hasn\'t acknowledged them. Lady Olenna is still alive and is now allied with Dorne. They will likely join Daenerys before the Mother of Dragons attacks King\'s Landing. Also worth noting: Highgarden is a historical seat of power so it\'ll be interesting to see who takes over if it\'s not a Tyrell.
Cause: While imprisoned, Cersei was abused by Septa Unella, the High Sparrow\'s enforcer, for refusing to confess. She presided over Cersei\'s worst humiliations, shaving her bloody and forcing her pace during the Walk of Atonement. "Shame! Shame!" Unella chanted behind Cersei as she walked, naked, feet bloody, covered in filth. "Shame!"
Revenge: Cersei envisioned a special fate for Unella. She somehow kept her away from the Great Sept before the trial, locked her up, and strapped her down like a mental patient. After blowing the Sept, Cersei visits Unella and presents her with Ser Gregor, chanting "Shame" as she ominously leaves the room. Unella is now the Mountain\'s plaything.
Next: Nothing. This is likely the last we\'ll hear from Unella.
Cause: Qyburn was introduced on the show as a disgraced former maester and Pycelle never let him forget it. The rivalry between the maesters came to a head when Cersei chose Qyburn after Ser Gregor was mortally wounded fighting Oberyn. Qyburn said he could bring the Mountain back and Pycelle disagreed. Cersei then appointed Qyburn as the new Master of Whisperers to replace Varys, which infuriated Pycelle. Cersei never liked the old man.
Revenge: Qyburn orders the Little Birds to kill Pycelle before the Great Sept is blown up. They swarm and stab him hundreds of times, killing him.
Next: Cersei names Qyburn Hand of the Queen. His fate is tied to hers, although he\'s clearly a brilliant and capable man. Will he be loyal to her, or will he see the rats fleeing before the ship sinks? I\'m betting on Qyburn to stay loyal to Cersei and go down with his queen.
Cause: Melisandre influenced Stannis Baratheon to burn Princess Shireen, his innocent daughter, at the stake towards the end of season five. Davos was away at Castle Black at the time so it was only before the Bastard Bowl that he discovered Shireen\'s true fate. He knew the little girl he loved was dead, but he didn\'t know how—until now. In the ashen remains of a pyre outside of Winterfell, Davos finds the wooden horse he made for the princess burned black.
Revenge: Davos accuses Melisandre of murder in the presence of the King in the North, Jon Snow. She attempts to justify her decision as a vessel for the Lord of Light, but her pleas aren\'t received. Davos wants her executed for murder. Instead Jon banishes her with instructions to ride south and never return. Davos swears he will kill her if he ever sees her in the North again.
Next: Look for Melisandre to find her way to the Brotherhood Without Banners and Thoros of Myr, another red priest. He and Beric Dondarrian still lead the group and were seen recently with The Hound. Melisandre will also find her way to Arya Stark. The Red Woman is on Arya\'s list and they were promised to meet again. Arya will be the one who kills her.
Cause: Wyman Manderly and Robett Glover were two of the northern Lords who rejected Jon Snow\'s call for help before the Battle of the Bastards.
Revenge: It\'s not really revenge, but Jon had his "told you so" moment in "The Winds of Winter" thanks to Lady Lyanna Mormont who called out Manderly, Glover, and Cley Cerwyn while proclaiming her support for the Starks. Her words spurned the turncoats and they all declared for Stark, swelling the Northern numbers. "The King in the North!"
Next: Jon has been declared King in the North, like his (ahem) uncle and cousin before him. His claim should not be challenged going forward and he\'ll lead the North against the Night King by himself or alongside Daenerys Targaryen, his aunt.
Cause: Walder was the chief architect behind the Red Wedding, which saw the murders of Arya\'s mother, brother, sister-in-law, and unborn niece or nephew.
Revenge: Donning the face of an attractive servant girl, Arya uses her faceless man skills to get inside The Twins where she kills Black Walder and Lothar Frey off-screen, bakes their body parts into a pie and serves it to Walder. When she reveals who she is and shows Frey what she\'s done, Arya reminds him, "I wanted you to know that the last thing you’ll ever see is a Stark face smiling down at you as you die..." And she cuts his throat like a stuck pig, smiles, and watches him fade away. This moment was years in the making and Arya got it done perfectly.
Next: Arya will head to Winterfell for a reunion with Sansa and Jon. The Freys are now wiped out. Will anyone care? Not bloody likely. Jaime Lannister wasn\'t exactly a fan of the Freys and he\'s got bigger fish to fry back home. It is possible, however, that Arya could take up some of the Lady Stoneheart storyline from the books, roaming the north and killing anyone not loyal to the Starks.
I'm an Associate Editor at Zimbio. I spend a lot of time in movie theaters. Follow me: Twitter | Google
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