'Game of Thrones,' Season 6 finale: Long may she reign
After six seasons and countless reminders, winter is here.
Game of Thrones finally confirmed that much talked about Jon Snow fan theory, Daenerys is finally sailing to Westeros, Jon takes his rightful place in Winterfell, Cersei finally laid waste to all that scorned her and Arya ticked another off her kill list.
So many great and wonderful things happened on Sunday's season finale, it's hard to pick which one brought us the most joy.
Kill them all
By the end of Loras Tyrell's trial before seven septons, Margaery knew something was gravely wrong.
Loras' trial was quick and almost painless. He confessed to all sins and pledge the rest of his life to service as a Sparrow. He was still weak and dripping blood from the freshly-carved seven pointed star on his forehead when the casks of wildfire exploded.
Those in the Great Sept of Baelor were waiting for Cersei and King Tommen to arrive for her trial, and she was taking far too long.
Margaery frantically tried to get everyone out, but the Sparrows blocked their way.
Away from the Sept, Cersei's minion Qyburn lured Maester Pycelle to his dungeon office and had him stabbed to death by the filthy children who do his bidding. When Sparrow Lancel was sent to fetch Cersei, he was led through the sewers then stabbed by a dirty child. Still alive, he crawled along the tunnel housing the hundreds of casks of glowing, green wildfire in desperate to blow out the flames at the end.
But he was too late. The candles burned down, causing the Sept and much of the structures around it to explode in green fire. RIP, the High Sparrow, all his followers, Margaery, Loras and Mace Tyrell and almost all the people of the court.
While her people burned, Cersei watched from her room sipping wine in a sleek, military chic royal gown fit for a queen.
To frost her vengeance cake, she waterboards the septon who tortured her when she was in prison. Don't worry, Cersei tells her, you're not going to die for a long time. In walks her Mountain, who finally takes off his helmet. It ain't pretty.
Smiling at the septon's screams, she shuts the prison door shouting SHAME, SHAME.
Long may she reign
One of the few untouched by the wildfire was King Tommen, who Cersei kept from going to the Sept.
He doesn't last long though. Within minutes of hearing of his Queen Margaery's death, he jumps out of his bedroom window in the Red Keep.
With no heir and no other Baratheon children left, Cersei makes her royal walk down the aisle of the throne room to take her place on the Iron Throne.
She went from queen, to queen regent, to queen mother, to disgraced and atoned prisoner to queen of Westeros.
Cersei, Queen of the Andals and Protector of the Realm. Long may she reign.
We've never loved Cersei more than we do at this very moment.
The King in the North
Jon Snow doesn't look as pleased as he should be after winning back Winterfell from the Boltons.
Maybe because he's back in the home he was never truly welcomed in as a child. To his family he was never a real Stark, but now that it's just him and Sansa the people have crowned him their new ruler.
First order of business is banishing Melisandre after hearing what she did to Lady Shireen Baratheon. Ser Davos knew the rest of the Baratheon family had died, but he didn't know Melisandre all but lit the flame to extinguish Shireen's life at a burning stake.
Her departure is a little troubling, seeing as she brought Jon back to life and could be a great help in defeating the Night King. But Lord Snow knows best.
Later Jon thanks Sansa for bringing the Knights of the Vale to aid in the Battle of the Bastards. If it weren't for her, they'd all be dead. They depart after Sansa tells him of the white raven from the Citadel. They're father was right, winter has come.
Petyr Baelish interrupts Sansa's prayers at Winterfell's heart tree with details of his fantasies involving her and his want of the Iron Throne. When he goes in to kiss her, she pushes him away saying, "that's a pretty picture" and walks away.
While at a meeting of the Northern houses, Lady Mormont scolds most of the leading men for refusing to aid the Starks when called upon. The words from the fierce little bear force the men to apologize and pledge allegiance to Jon Snow, their new King in the North.
So much for Petyr's pretty pictures of a life ruling Westeros.
Since the first whispers of a theory about Jon Snow's parentage, fans have been eagerly awaiting confirmation that their speculations were true.
We need no longer speculate how Jon Snow, a bastard orphan, fits into this game of thrones. Technicalities aside, he's the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Well, besides Gendry, but who even knows where that boy is.
Let's break it down.
Ned Stark brought back to Wintefell a squalling baby boy after Robert's Rebellion. In shame, he told his wife the baby was his, and its mother was just some girl who warmed Ned's bed at night. He raised Jon Snow as his own, but never truly accepted him as a Stark.
He kept that lie the rest of his life. He didn't tell a soul (at least we think he didn't) about who Jon's real parents were.
When Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven flashed back to the Tower of Joy, we only heard a scream of a hint into what's inside the tower.
After Benjen/Coldhands leaves Meera and Bran to continue their journey, Bran (now the Three-Eyed Raven) connects to that flashback again through a heart tree.
We see Ned running up the tower steps and finding his sister, Lyanna, bleeding profusely in bed. Before she dies, she whispers to him, "Promise me, Ned ... promise you will protect him."
Through his tears as he watches his sister die, he's handed a plump baby boy, who just opened his eyes. The closeup of the baby's face flashes to Jon's somber, bearded face.
Fans have been speculating that Jon Snow is really the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, and Sunday's season finale confirmed this theory.
Many have argued that Lyanna wasn't kidnapped by Rhaegar, she gladly went with him because she carried his child. He didn't just fall in love with her at a jousting match and obsess over her. They loved one another and created a child together.
There you have it. Jon Snow is a Targaryen.
A girl is home
Despite the hundreds of deaths already in this season finale, none were quite as satisfying as the murder of Walder Frey. The stinking, arrogant, creepy old man had it coming for a while now.
Another vengeful Stark woman had the pleasure of delivering the fatal knife to Frey's throat. Arya Stark made it back to Westeros, donning the face of a servant girl bringing Frey his food.
Alone at his table, she serves him a meaty pot pie. When he asks where all his sons are, she tells him, "they're here my lord," pointing to the pie. They were hard to carve up, she says, especially Black Walder.
She removes her face, tells him who she is, and says a Stark face will be the last thing he ever sees.
She smiles as she slits his throat.
And so do we.
The great game
Breakups are hard, even for mothers of dragons.
After six seasons and years of dragon-rearing and slave city-conquering, Daenerys is finally heading home to Westeros. Everything she's ever dreamed of is happening. She has a fleet of ships, armies of the Unsullied and Dothraki and an allegiance with some of the Iron Islands.
But she has to leave Daario Naharis behind. She tells him she can't bring a lover to Westeros, she must form more alliances by marrying someone of nobility.
Later when talking to her new Hand of the Queen, Tyrion, she tells him she's most terrified that she just walked away from a man who loves her and she felt nothing.
The episode ends with an epic shot of Daenerys' fleet of ships packed with her armies, her allies and massive Targaryen banners.
Lest we forget her dragons, who are about as big as a ship, flying overhead.
Daenerys was almost unstoppable in the East, even without her dragons, but will be a force to be reckoned with once she steps on Westeros' shore.
Fire and blood
Last, but certainly not least the least important event in Sunday's finale was the alliance between the Sand Snakes of Dorne and House Tyrell. Well, all that remains of House Tyrell.
Lady Olenna, the Queen of Thorns, can count herself lucky she was sent away from King's Landing, but now mourns her son and two grandchildren.
Ellaria Sand, interim ruler of Dorne since she killed Doran Martell, offers Lady Olenna an alliance with Dorne.
They both hate the Lannisters, who killed members of their families, so why not ally for vengeance?
Varys' arrival seals the deal with a promise of fire and blood for both families. He's going to give them the retribution they seek if they promise to back Daenerys' claim to the throne.
Women now rule in much of Westeros and across the Narrow Sea. Cersei literally burned her way to the Iron Throne, Sansa is again a Lady of the North alongside her brother (er, cousin?), the Sand Snakes have taken over Dorne and Daenerys is finally sailing to Westeros to claim her crown.
But honestly, the best scene of the episode - and possibly the entire season - was Lady Lyanna Mormont scolding a room full of grown men for not heeding the call to help the Starks. We'd like a whole series of that.
Contact Chelsea Tatham at [email protected] Follow @chelseatatham on Twitter.