Voyeur Recap: Game of Thrones, “The Winds of Winter”

Welcome to TLP’s Voyeur Recap – a guide for staying conversant with friends, family, and colleagues who are really into a show that you do not have the time and/or desire to watch. The first and so far only series to be included in this feature is HBO’s Game of Thrones. (FYI spoilers abound)

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Lovely view.

What is Game of Thrones? Based on a series of novels written by Coldplay frontman Chris RR Martin, Game of Thrones tells the story of the conscious unseptupling of the seven kingdoms of Westeros right before they all plunge into the first cold, lonely winter in many years. The winter brings with it an army of magical zombies and their hordes of mindless, ravenous servants called “wights,” which are obvious allegories for music industry execs and groupies, respectively. The books, which were written as a way for Martin to cope with his difficult feelings during his divorce from actress Gwyneth Paltrow, have been criticized for the absurdly emo way major characters just get brutally killed off without warning – except for the attractive (and mostly underage) women who are terribly mistreated, but always survive to have sex, commit murder, or stand naked in fire again another day.

What is a Voyeur Recap? The voyeur recap is here to help non-viewers like us stay conversant with friends, family members, and colleagues who are watching the show and talking about it. All of the information provided about the show is completely accurate, except for the stuff that is totally made up. Folks who watch the show are also welcome to read and get a laugh from this recap, but be aware there are spoilers.

Which episode just aired? Sunday night’s episode was season 6 number 10, the season finale, titled “The Winds of Winter” and I need to confess that I actually did watch this episode after reading about it.

What happened in the episode (and what should you say about it)?

In King’s Landing, Cersei Lannister killed, had killed, or had tortured to death everybody that has been mean to her. She got kids to kill one guy, she got a zombie to (it is implied) rape a woman to death after Cersei spends a minute wineboarding her (which is how one-percenters torture folks), and she got another kid to stab a guy in some catacombs so that we could watch him slowly realize the big thing Cersei was about to pull off. See, these religious fanatics called the “Faith Militant,” who wear dirty pajamas all the time and believe folks wearing real clothes are sinners, had an adversarial relationship with Cersei and her family because of all the fancy clothes the Lannisters wear. Things got really ugly and there was to be a trial of Cersei at a church called the Bale of Skeletor, or maybe it was the the Sept of Baelor, I can’t keep all the names straight. Anyway it doesn’t matter anymore, because down in those catacombs Cersei had found some magical napalm left around by a previous angry monarch type, and she used it to blow up the Skeletor, everyone in it, and anything nearby it. Good news for Cersei: all her enemies in the city were killed all at once and she became queen. Bad news for Cersei: one of her enemies in the city was Margarine, the wife of Cersei’s son, King Tommen. It turns out Tommen was one of those people that really loves Margarine (you know how some people are) and he self-defenestrated when he realized what his mother had done. That’s how Cersei became queen; sort of the Game of Thrones version of leaning in, I guess.

What to say: “What good is a crown if you have no allies left to help you keep it?” or “I hope she saved some of that wildfire to use against the wights later!” or “So wait, her goal this whole time was to protect her children, and the result is that they’re all dead… …wtf?!”

What to predict: “Jaime will have to kill her himself, I bet. Knowing this show, probably while they’re having sex.”

What to say for a laugh: “Now I know why they call it King’s Landing. Ha Ha Ha! Dead kids are totes funny.” or “I guess it is too late to tell her that when folks say moms have to make sacrifices for career advancement, they don’t mean it so literally.”

Up in the North, the ever creepier and crazier Lord Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger, revealed to Sansa Stark that his long term goal is to sit on the Iron Throne and have her as a wife, which doesn’t make a lot of sense since he has spent years moving himself geographically further away from the throne while also marrying Sansa off to several other men even creepier than himself. When Littlefinger moved in for a smooch, Sansa denied him in a classic “man misinterprets woman’s loathing every iota of his existence as her wanting a kiss” moment. Elsewhere in Winterfell, a guy named Davros who fans really like despite the fact that we all know he eventually creates the Daleks, confronted Melisandre about that one time she convinced a guy to burn his daughter at the stake for good luck, but he got bad luck and died instead. Awkward! Davros asks Jon Snow to have Melisandre executed, but instead Jon gets all Solomon on it (probably because Melisandre brought his ass back to life) and expels the Lady in Red from the North. Later at a big meeting of Northern families, a prepubescent lady named Lyanna Mormont shames a bunch of old lords into supporting Jon Snow as the new King in the North. Folks got really excited about this scene on Twitter, despite the fact gaining this title has so far been a death sentence for loved and loathed characters alike.

What to say: “Where was Ghost this whole time?”

What to say for a laugh: “Winter may have come, but Littlefinger got blue balled. Lulz!”

What to tweet/hashtag: #LyannaMormont2016 – because fandom loves ambitious girls so long as they don’t grow up to be ambitious women.

What to predict: “So I guess Cersei and Baelish are going to need to get married or something before they realize they have no friends.”

Meanwhile, in Riverrun or the Twins or Somewhere, Walder Frey gets a few moments on screen with Jaime Lannister to remind us that both of them are awful and Walder is just grossly so. Later we get to see Walder eating meat pie and complaining that his sons aren’t around. The servant girl feeding him turns out to be Arya Stark, who apparently learned how to change faces after all, and she lets Walder know that she killed, carved, and baked his sons into the pie he has been eating. Walder only gets a moment to process this fact before Arya slits his throat, just as Walder’s bastard son Walder did to Arya’s mother Catelyn a few seasons back. Fans of the show on Twitter went wild with joy when this happened, which makes sense because comeuppance is satisfying, but is also a bit off considering that a girl killed two people, fed them to their dad, then killed him too.

What to say about it for a laugh/grimace: “I always just assumed it was Shepherd’s pie, but now I am really wondering if it is shepherds pie! So gross…”

What to say: “Did anybody but me notice that when Arya told him he was eating his sons, Walder made a regurgitation face instead of, you know, actually throwing up? Because I’m pretty sure he should have actually thrown up.” 

In other North-ish news, Samwise Gamgee made it to a big library with a cool light and a lot of books and nobody knows why he is there yet. More consequentially, north of The Wall, Benjen ‘Coldhands’ Stark ditches Bran (who is six feet tall and can’t walk) and Meera because Benjen can’t go south of The Wall due to magic spells written into the stone that are bad even for good guy zombies. The undead Benjen does not even so much as craft a new sled for Meera to use to pull Bran before he rides away on his horse. What a shitty uncle! Of course there is a nearby tree so Bran and Meera get straight to work on… …having a vision into the past, where Bran learns for sure what we all already figured out back in the pilot episode, that Jon Snow is no bastard son of Ned Stark but is instead born of a union between Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Folks got really excited about this on Twitter too, which is fine. This is like the one scene you can really just be happy about. I mean, other than that poor woman dying after childbirth without ever holding her baby and Jon Snow having grown up his whole life shunned as a bastard despite being two kinds of royalty and Ned Stark being thought of as a bit of a hypocrite because he came back from a war with a bastard kid even while being preachy about honor all the time. Other than that stuff, a purely uplifting development for the series!

What to say if you want people to think you read a lot even though we all know you just binge watch streaming television all the time: “That library just looked like heaven to me. I would so make the same face as Sam did! And totally leave my wife and child behind on my way in!”

What to say if you are the kind of ass that wants to keep the Jon Snow parentage non-mystery alive a bit longer: “Well you didn’t hear everything Lyanna whispered to Ned, so maybe Jon isn’t Rhaegar’s son. He does have Baratheon-looking hair, you know.”

What to say to be clever: “So I guess a few episodes ago they could totally have burnt Jon’s corpse and he still would’ve come back to life, maybe with a flaming sword or some dragon eggs or something, and no scars. Thanks for nothing, Wun Wun.”

In Dorne, and then in Essos, and then back near Dorne again, Varys visited Dorne to forge an alliance between the Sand Snakes, Tyrells, and his choice for eventual ruler Westeros, Daenerys Targaryen. Dany stayed in Essos to break up with her NSA sex pal, Daario, because nobody brings a side piece with them when they’re off to reclaim their family’s throne on another continent. Duh. Then – and really, this was sweet – Dany made Tyrion the Hand of the Queen in a scene that was magnificently played by actor Peter Dinklage. After all that they set sail apparently for Dorne, because the next time we see them they are all together – Dany, Varys, and Tyrion – at sea in a fleet with the Greyjoys, Tyrells, and Dornish navy, with Dany’s Dragons flying overhead.

What to say to sound like everybody else: “WTF does Varys have a teleporter now? How did he get from Meereen to Dorne back to Meereen again in an hour?!?!”

What to say to sound smarter than everybody else: “STFU, the different scenes in the episodes, like the different plots of the season, aren’t all happening concurrently and in real time. Just use common sense to figure out how things fit together instead of complaining about not having everything explained to you.”

What to say to make peace if you are caught between those two people: “It’s true the show does have a flexible relationship with narrative time that can be off-putting, and the information is there to figure out what is going on. Let’s just agree that a little “three weeks later” text at the bottom of the screen would help sometimes. Anyway, who do you think would win in a fight between Star Trek and Star Wars?”

What to say if you are a woman in a mixed gender and/or age group discussing anything of consequence: “Do shut up. Let the grown women speak.”

What to say for a laugh: “Well I have to admit I really thought we were dorne with that subplot. Eh? EH? DORNE with that subplot! Get it?!?!” (Be sure to explain it in detail if people don’t laugh the first time.)

Further Reading:

HBO released an infographic to let everybody know for sure that Jon is a Targaryen.

Vox Media: “Game of Thrones season 6 was good TV that shows why the series will never be great

io9: “Game of Thrones Showrunner Confirm There Are Only 15 Episodes Left, Max

Screen Rant: “Game of Thrones Showrunners Tease Next Seasons

Questions?

If you have any questions about the show that you would like to be answered by someone who doesn’t watch it and has never read the books, use the links below to contact TLP.

Tell TLP what you think of this episode!  Send an email, comment on Facebook, or tweet on Twitter. There is also Tumblr and the comment field below, if you’re into that kind of thing. 

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