[This articles contains SPOILERS for the Game of Thrones season 6 finale.]
Our watch has ended for yet another season of Game of Thrones, but there’s still much in the way of detail to unpack about what happened on the Season 6 finale, “The Winds of Winter”. The action-packed season ended on a high note, as the most major fan theory of the entire series (of both the book and TV iterations) was finally confirmed, a new king and queen were crowned, and Daenerys Targaryen finally set sail on her sure-to-be-fateful voyage to Westeros to claim the Iron Throne.
The 69-minute episode left many a fan impressed – and while many have already dissected the final episode of the season to the nth degree, HBO has released a handful of behind-the-scenes videos that delve even deeper into what happened … and what it might mean for Game of Thrones season 7.
The first video (see above) touches on the two newly-crowned royals, Cersei Lannister and Jon Snow. “At this point in the story, we’re trying to kind of play with the pieces that we’ve got on the board,” explains executive producer and writer D.B. Weiss. One of those pieces was the stockade of wildfire that had remained under King’s Landing from the days of the Mad King. Viewers were reminded as much throughout the season as several characters made mention of the extreme explosive reserve that was laying in wait for someone just vicious (and crazy) enough to actually use it against her enemies. What might surprise the GoT faithful is that Weiss credits Olenna Tyrell with giving Cersei the idea in the first place:
“Everything that Olenna says about Cersei earlier in the season is true: that she’s got no more friends left, that she’s got no more power left. Olenna asks her point-blank, ‘Are you going to kill everyone yourself?’ It’s possible that she puts an idea in Cersei’s head or at least augments an idea that’s already been in Cersei’s head.”
As we know, this led to the ultimate demise of her own grandchildren, so is it possible that Olenna has herself to blame for this massacre? Of course, Cersei paid the ultimate price for that decision, too, because as she watch the devastation ensue, she forgot to be there for King Tommen, who did not enjoy these violent delights as much as she did. “She failed him, and she alone failed him here,” Weiss explained.
The execs also offered a few hints about what consequences might play out from the events of the finale. “I think the idea of Cersei without her children is a pretty terrifying prospect because it was the one thing that really humanized her, her love for her kids,” added fellow Thrones showrunner David Benioff. Cersei, now Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, is already poised to be a madder monarch than the one her late husband dethroned so many years ago — not that we ever doubted her ability to be evil, of course. Meanwhile, Benioff also points out the “hint of conflict” and lack of trust that remains between Sansa Stark and her brother (whom we now know, officially, is actually her cousin) Jon Snow. “That relationship will be crucial to watch,” he said.
Jon Snow’s coronation as the King of the North, Benioff explained, was fully meant to evoke the same sense of triumph from Robb Stark’s ascension to that status, and that’s not necessarily a good thing, either:
“In some ways, the evocation of the first one is meant to be a bit worrisome because it was a very triumphant moment when Robb was named King of the North, but it didn’t go so well for the previous King of the North, so we have to be a little bit worried for Jon.”
The video also explores Arya Stark’s long-overdue Red Wedding revenge scene against Walder Frey, and her newfound depravity. “If you love Arya, you have to be a little bit worried about where she goes from here,” Benioff hinted. Daenerys’ decision to leave Daario behind, too, holds some major implications for what’s to come. “As a queen without a king, that could be really useful,” said Benioff, who adds that her new hand Tyrion Lannister’s experience with the families of Westeros will be highly instrumental in her War for Westeros. “It’s a ruthlessness that comes with even the good Targaryens. These are the people who came over from across the Narrow Sea and conquered the known world. It’ll be very interesting to see how that plays out, going forward,” Weiss added about Dany’s journey ahead.
The next video explores the actors’ character perspectives. Kit Harington and Sophie Turner explore their characters’ relationships — and how the lingering tensions might come back to bite them. “I think Jon is oblivious,” Harington said. “He hasn’t actually learned his lesson from trying to pay attention to how she’s feeling … I think that could be a real problem for him.” Is a Stark House civil war ahead for these two?
Here, actress Maisie Williams chimed in with her thoughts on Arya’s perspective on finally marking a major name off her list. “One thing we can take away from this series after watching Arya’s storyline is that she’s definitely back,” Williams teased.
Finally, this look at the fiery demise of the Tyrell line, save for Olenna, shows the intense production and visual effects work that went into creating the big boom at the Sept. After wiping out all of her enemies in King’s Landing, and inadvertently leading to the death of her last child and fulfillment of that grim prophecy, Cersei is set to become an all-new kind of force to be reckoned with. As is mentioned in the video, “There’s that look between her and Jaime which is enigmatic, which hints that Season 7 drama to unfold. But she is at the end of Season 6 colder and stronger and Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.”
Game of Thrones will return to HBO with season 7 in spring 2017.