REVIEW: Game of Thrones 6.10 ‘The Winds of Winter’ is a masterpiece of an episode
Please be aware this review contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season six, episode ten ‘The Winds of Winter’, which first aired in the UK at 2am last night. If you are waiting for the 9pm repeat, please click back.
We didn’t think much could top last week’s action-packed ‘Battle of the Bastards’, which included the finest depiction of medieval warfare on television ever, CGI dragons and the grisly last moments of Ramsay Bolton. Yet somehow, ‘The Winds of Winter’ was better.
The episode begins hauntingly with Ramin Djawadi’s score creating a beautiful, agonising build to Cersei’s master plan. Everything about this scene is on-point. Cersei skips her trial and watches as the sept goes up in green flames at her will. No woman has ever looked so happy as Cersei with her eyes upon the destruction of her enemies, cooly nursing a glass of red wine. Her delight with the plan’s success and finally being back in control of her future is wonderfully contrasted with Tommen’s final moments, as he leaps to his death after losing all he holds dear. Tommen’s story has been defined by his being a pawn of more powerful characters until now, where the first move he has made as a player is to end the game.
The character development on this episode was thorough and heartbreaking. In a heart-to-heart with Tyrion, Daenerys lets her mask fall when she admits that she feels nothing but impatience to continue after breaking Daario’s heart. What sort of person does that make her? In the Riverlands, Jaime and Walder Frey share a powerful bit of dialogue as Lord Frey assures him they are very much alike, much to Jaime’s utter horror and disgust. Back in Bran’s flashback, we discover the truth about Jon Snow, and Ned Stark’s burden becomes that much more tragic. Even five seasons after Ned’s death, the show continues to flesh out his character. That’s the sort of show Thrones is.
Like ‘Battle of the Bastards’, there was a fair amount of predictability in this episode. Bran finally discovered the truth about Jon, about six years after the internet went crazy over the R+L=J theory. We didn’t get a full reveal – Lyanna Stark’s words were whispered – but we learn she is Jon’s mother, and the only likely candidate for his father is the man who carried her away, Rhaegar Targaryen. As the episode reaches its climax, Jon becomes – with a little help from the magnificent Lyanna Mormont – King in the North, which is wonderfully satisfying.
‘The Winds of Winter’ was everything we hoped it would be, answering decades-old theories, delivering endings to hated characters and fleshing out some of the show’s most-loved characters. It highlighted everything Game of Thrones has been continuously applauded for – complex characters, stunning cinematography, and shocking twists.
Unlike a certain zombie drama that shall not be named, it did not fall short of delivering a satisfying ending to the season. There was no great cliffhanger, there were only answers, and promises of continued greatness next season. That’s all fans need to keep coming back.