"Game of Thrones" has become an addicting, quality show in the six seasons it has aired, due in part to the fact that it has something for all types of television watchers — whether it's dramatic visuals or increasingly complex plot lines.
The series aired the final episode of season 6 last week, and it did so with no small number of twists and turns.
Although each season has had its highs and lows, season 6 stole the show. Here are a few reasons, accompanied by spoilers, why the latest season went above and beyond.
The Chess Match in King's Landing
Chess matches between two figures of power have become a mainstay throughout the series. This season is no exception.
The biggest difference was is the amount of players fighting for control of the king and the city. Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), the king’s mother, had to deal with the small counsel. This brought Kevan Lannister, Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg), the queen herself Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) and the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) together.
The turmoil to try and rule the Seven Kingdoms made for great drama as it is not immediately clear how will it all will play out. Although the High Sparrow and the Tyrells were close, they weren’t able to beat out Cersei, which led to an oft-used plot in American film — "The Godfather" ending.
The final episode of season 6 played like a shot-for-shot remake of the classic baptism scene in the first "Godfather" film.
Both scenes are held in a religious place, and begin with an ominous tone. Cersei had a lot of enemies in King's Landing and she needed a way to deal with all of them, much like Michael Corleone (Al Pacino).
Instead of doing what the Don did — taking out his enemies in multiple hits throughout the day — Cersei killed them all in one fell swoop. In just a manner of minutes, Ceresi killed the Sparrow and his men, all but one of the Tyrell family and anyone else who got in her way.
Needless to say, it was brutal.
The return of beloved characters
Jon Snow (Kit Harington) came back from the dead, to the applause of television viewers everywhere.
Snow is one of the few characters that actually has a moral compass and isn't just hell-bent on becoming king, but rather saving the world from the White Walkers.
Sandor "The Hound" Clegane ( Rory McCann) returning came as a huge surprise, and he did not miss a beat after the Brotherhood without Banners messed with his friends.
He spent his first episode working and helping a man build a church and the next time we see him, he's going around killing Brotherhood members left and right. He brought back that level of brutality that was missing when he disappeared.
Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) made what was perhaps the greatest return of the season.
Stark spent the fifth season on the sidelines, but that was not the case this time around.
At the start of the season, he first learned he could become the "Three-Eyed Raven." With this, he went back in time to learn some very important information about the Starks and the Targaryens. He learns Jon is not the son of Ned Stark (Sean Bean), but is the son of his sister Lyanna Stark (Aisling Franciosi) and either the Mad King Aerys Targaryen (David Rintoul) or Rhaegar Targaryen — a character unseen as of yet.
This leads toward both the confirmation of Internet fan theories, and an idea the books have been hinting at for the better part of 20 years. With this knowledge, it potentially brings a new player for the Iron Throne and may cause issue between Daenery Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Snow when they eventually meet up.
The best fight scene in the show's history
There is simply no room for debate, the Battle of the Bastards was the best battle scene not only of the season, but of the entire series.
The invasion of King's Landing was great, the fight at the Wall was spectacular, and "Game of Thrones" has never skimped on phenomenal battle scenes, this season poignantly illustrated just how brutal war was and is.
Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) and his army took on Snow's army for control of the North in a brutal, devastating skirmish. Bolton had not only the numbers advantage, but he was the better strategist. He knew how to force Snow to fight a battle he shouldn't win.
It looked like the end was near when Snow's remaining forces were surrounded by Bolton's forces and were destined to die, but his half sister, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), came to the rescue. She got Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish (Aidan Gillen) to send the Knights of the Vale to kill Bolton's remaining army.
With the extra support at the last moment, Bolton lost and got the death he deserved. Finally, after almost three seasons, the people of the North were once again ruled by a Stark.
A new villain?
After six seasons, Daenery Targaryen has built up a navy and an army strong enough to overthrow Cersei and take her birth right, the Iron Throne.
She is in possession of the only fully grown dragons in the world and is backed by several powerful allies including Olenna Tryell, Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) and Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan).
Cersei realistically cannot top that, and a Targaryen will end up on the Iron Throne, but that's reason enough to be concerned. She seemed like a good leader but has recently developed a bloodlust when she deals with her opposition.
All this buildup to a new queen could leave us with someone worse than Cersei. This may not happen, but it would certainly make the last two seasons a lot more interesting if she goes down a darker path.
At the very least, viewers can get excited for the future of the show and what the writers will do with the White Walkers, Cersei, Jon and Daenery. With all of the latest twists and turns, viewers might benefit from re-watching the show before the next season as a refresher.
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