“The Winds of Winter”
Last week I said that Battle of the Bastards was not only the greatest episode of Game of Thrones, but the greatest television episode of all time. As it turns out, I was wrong, The Winds of Winter blows it completely out of the water, it was unlike anything I have ever seen before.
First, we start with the demise of some of the shows biggest mainstays, Margery, Loras, and Mace Tyrell, the High Sparrow, Lancel Lannister, Tommen Baratheon, Grand Maester Pycell, and Walder Frey all bit the dust in possibly the most blood-soaked TV finale of all time. These deaths really gave us the sad realisation that this legendary show is coming slowly to its end, building towards several much-anticipated confrontations.
Again, we have some simply beautiful camera work, throughout this episode there are many breathtaking moments, the first appearance of the Old Town citadel being one of the greater, but not even coming close to the amazing scenes at the end, as the Targeryen fleet moves towards Westeros flanked by the forces of Dorne, Highgarden and The Iron Islands, not to mention Dany’s scaly insurance policy, in the form of her three vicious children. Another great example of the excellent visual codes used in this episode is the reflection of the bright green wildfire in the terrified eyes of Lancel Lannister, you could literally feel the fear he was experiencing through the screen.
As always the acting performances were amazing, but perhaps the most commendable of all is Lena Headly for her phenomenal portrayal of an emotionally crumbling Cersei Lannister, with the prophecy coming full circle in the death of her final child. You really have to respect Lena’s incredible talents as she manages to unlock new levels of hatred inside the minds of Game of Thrones fans the world over. Never has a television character been so unlikable yet so intriguing, and half of this is down to Headly’s constantly captivating and deliberately infuriating performances. The other half is of course down to the shows fantastic script writing.
On the topic of writing, this had to be some of the best storytelling in history. No disrespect to George RR Martin but his Winds of Winter novel will have its work cut out for it in order to compete with what we’ve seen in this episode. This episode was an hour and ten minutes, the longest episode in the shows history, but my god they utilized the extra time in the most perfect ways imaginable. Every second is used well in a constant flow of creative perfection.
The musical score is enchanting, brutal, haunting and mysterious all at the same time and exactly when it needs to be, every spine chilling, jaw-dropping, goosebumping moment is matched perfectly with music that brings it to life in such a vibrant, vivid, and gritty fashion.
The episode also gave fans what they had been waiting for in all but confirming a popular theory about Jon Snow, proving once and for all that he really could be the bastard son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targeryen, to the delight of every long-time speculator.
To round off the episode we had two new rulers crowd, Jon Snow as King in the North, receiving chants as Robb Stark once did, but the mood was overshadowed by the sly and dangerous presence of slippery, supposedly Irish, brother owning weirdo, Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, and Cersei becoming the Queen on the Iron Throne, making it very much a Cersei Lannister Vs the world situation.
Oh, and we finally got to see Ser Davos confront the Red Woman on the sacrifice of the child princess he had cared for like his own, threatening to execute her himself should she ever cross his path again, and there was something very satisfying about that.
Oh, and Tyrion is hand of the dragon queen, and there is nothing finer than seeing everyone’s favourite alcoholic dwarf get the recognition he so truthfully deserves.
All in all this was the perfect ending to the perfect series of the perfect show, my deepest praises to everyone involved in creating this masterpiece, you have all exceeded yourselves and all who came before you.
The only real problem is that we have to wait ten months to see more, but that’s what the best shows do, they keep you waiting, and when the time comes around, it will have been well worth the wait.
As if there would ever by any doubt, my rating for this perfect piece of television is: 10/10