What can be said that hasn’t already been said about the juggernaut of Game of Thrones? This show has gone from strength to strength, season after season, expanding and contracting. The lack of female view point has been drastically put right in this season with extensive screen time for Sansa, Arya and Cersei and not as passengers either but as leading participants in the story. Daenerys, as usual, needs no quantifying as she is ever present with her power and her determination to make the Seven Kingdoms hers. Add to this the vicious Sand Snakes of Dorne and the ever decreasing pool of leading men and the balance has well and truly shifted, and for the better.
The story lines this season have been varied. Bran and his training with the Three-Eyed Raven North of The Wall, Arya and her desire to be No-One (which has to compete with her desire to kill those that have wronged her and her family in the past), Theon’s return to the Iron Islands after his escape, Sansa with her trials and tribulations of being passed on to the next suitor and her subsequent growth, Jon and the Wildlings and their march South to spread the word about the impending Night King and White Walker army on the move, Tyrion and Varys in Mereen assisting the Queen of Dragons in ways other than fighting (which is nice for a change). The only thing that I hope happens is that they start to weave the stories together, to not let the season roll out one after the other indefinitely. There needs to be leadership in deciding when enough is enough and when to end it properly, not drag it out too long. The ending scenes of this season bring hope to me that the next season will be the last, or near enough to be.
Arya has had a lot of screen time this season, which is deserved as she seemed to be forgotten for a long time but she came back fighting, learning from the Many Faced God and a Man (and the Waif). She has been through a lot, blinded, beaten, hunted to name but a few. Yet she has come out the other side still as Arya Stark and a stronger person for all her lessons. I believe she will play a major part in the stories to come.
The High Sparrow and his followers have cast their shadow all over this season. Growing in power and influence, with no real way evident to get rid of them from the confines of King Landing and their hold over the crown. Jonathan Pryce have been excellent as the High Sparrow, showing cunning and control whilst at the same time remaining a step removed from it all, maintaining his purity whilst others do his dirty work. I can’t say that I didn’t have a little smirk at how they ended up.
The Hounds (Rory McCann) return and march towards revenge was a perfect little moment in the latter half of this season. He manages to mix a little humour with his violence which makes it all the more watchable. It will be interesting to see how far he makes it and what fate is in store for him.
Jon and Sansa and their efforts to reclaim The North, and their home Winterfell, from the Boltons was a major part of this season, giving us the high point of The Battle of the Bastards, an epic battle sequence that didn’t disappoint. Fury, rage, emotion, despair and relief all bundled into the one episode. And of course there is the removing of a much reviled character, which nobody is sad about.
However, revelations learnt from Bran in his new position as the Three-Eyed Raven sheds some new light on Jon’s beginnings and maybe he was meant for more. It remains to be seen where, if, this information gets back to him and whether it changes his path. So with Winterfell reclaimed and Jon and Sansa back at the helm, everybody pledged their banner back to the Starks (and The King in the North), however Jon appeared not to be comfortable with this so maybe Sansa is going to take the lead and rule? It wouldn’t surprise me if she did, her rise this latter half of the season has been pretty meteoric. Oh, and it wouldn’t be right to mention this without mentioning Lady Mormont and her speeches, which have been of the highest order! Takes no shit that one.
Cersei. What can we say about her? All credit to Cersei for a well played out plan. Executed (pun intended!) perfectly, well apart from the fallout. No-one ever manages to gauge the fallout so I’m guessing she didn’t foresee the effect it would have on her beloved Tommen. Lena Headey is a superb actor, she plays the role with so much feeling, mostly dark feelings; pain, hate, indifference. But Cersei has had to bring herself back from the pain and humiliation she suffered from the High Sparrow and resume her plotting and planning for her family and she has done it superbly, weaselling her way back into some power before the fallout of the season finale, where she somehow manages to gain all the power again. In the interests of female lead story lines, this could end up with Daenerys, Cersei, Sansa and Ellaria vying for the Iron Throne! Men, be warned!