Cersei is staring out across King’s Landing toward the sept, as everyone gets ready for the trial. The High Sparrow even dons his formal potato sack for the event (still no shoes though). The Sept opens and people stream in to watch the spectacle. The Faith Militant retrieve Loras; looks like he’ll be getting a haircut and a shave (long overdue). The septons come in and take their seats.

Tommen looks unhappy as he is informed the trial will be starting soon. Cersei looks determined as she puts on all her bling. Grand Maester Pycelle gets dressed after spending time with a whore, and as he leaves the room he is stopped by a “little bird” who whispers something in his ear. Meanwhile, the music for this opening sequence is absolutely stunning.

Back in the Sept, Loras is brought before the septons. Loras confesses his sins and states he wants to devote his life to the Seven. He renounces his name and titles, and the Faith Militant carve the star in his forehead (which looks extremely painful, yikes).

Tommen gets up to go the trial, but Zombie Mountain stops him. Cersei is still in her room, so something is about to go down. Margaery is upset about the mutilation of Loras, but the High Sparrow tells her he will be free to go once Cersei’s trial is concluded. Lancel tells the High Sparrow she hasn’t left the Red Keep, so he is ordered to go get her.

Lancel sees a “little bird” running and decides to follow. Grand Maester Pycelle is led to Qyburn, and is promptly stabbed to death by more little birds. Lancel continues following the little bird down some dark tunnels and is stabbed in the side (those little birds are a stabby bunch). Lancel looks around and sees a room full of wildfire.

Margaery is anxious and tells the High Sparrow something is wrong (no kidding). She says that there is a reason Cersei and Tommen are absent, and that they all need to leave. Meanwhile, Lancel pulls himself toward the puddles of wildfire, where candles are burning down to ignite it. I don’t like Lancel but you have to give him credit for trying to stop the impending disaster. As Margaery desperately tries to get out of the Sept – and is stopped by the Faith Militant – Lancel tries to blow out the candle, to no avail. The Sept explodes into a green inferno, while Cersei looks on, smiling and drinking her wine.

Cersei pays a visit to Septa Unella, who is strapped to a table. Cersei pours wine on her face, telling her to confess. But it is Cersei who does the confessing, telling Unella all of her crimes including the recent sparrow barbecue. Cersei reminds Unella that her face would be the last thing she saw before she died. Unella says she is ready to meet the gods. Cersei tells her too bad, she gets to be tortured by Zombie Mountain for a nice long while first. Unella screams as Cersei walks out, chanting “shame.”

Tommen stares down at the destruction, looking devastated. He removes his crown and leaps from the window to his death. Cersei is now responsible for the death of her last child. Please let Jaime take her out for this. She killed a ton of innocent people, didn’t protect her son, and is damn lucky she didn’t destroy the entire city with her stunt. Jaime is going to be pissed.

Over at the Twins, Walder Frey is toasting their success in taking back Riverrun (thanks to Jaime – the Freys were pretty much useless). Jaime and Bronn don’t look too thrilled to be there. Bronn points out the girls eyeing Jaime, and he says they aren’t his type. “Not blond enough?” asks Bronn, and I wonder if he means Cersei or Brienne. Probably both.

Walder comes over and brags about Edmure being back in a cell, the Blackfish being dead, and Riverrun belonging to him. Jaime sarcastically calls him a great conqueror. Walder brushes off the insult and says they are both kingslayers and that people fear them. Jaime retorts that people don’t fear the Freys, they fear the Lannisters, and if the Lannisters have to bail out the Freys every time they lose control over the Riverlands, why do they need them?

Back in King’s Landing, Cersei looks at her dead son – she doesn’t look the least bit sad, surprised, or sorry (oh how I hate her). Qyburn asks about a funeral, and she tells her to burn him. She wants his ashes buried where the Sept used to be, so he can be with his siblings and grandfather (how sweet).

It looks like Sam and Gilly finally made it to Oldtown, and it is gorgeous (took them long enough; they should have borrowed Littlefinger’s jetpack). Sam reports to the Citadel, and the maester at the front desk questions him about why he is there. Apparently news travels slowly, as he thinks Jeor Mormont is still Lord Commander and doesn’t know Maester Aemon is dead. He tells Sam he can wait in the library while he fetches the Archmaester to talk to him, but Gilly and her son aren’t permitted to go any further. Sam walks into the biggest, most beautiful library he’s ever seen, and he will probably never want to leave (I know I wouldn’t!).

A white raven flies toward Winterfell (winter is coming no longer – it’s finally here). Jon talks to Melisandre about growing up as a bastard, and she reminds him he still had it better than most people. Davos walks in and tosses her the burnt stag he carved for Shireen. He angrily demands that she tell Jon what she did, and she admits she burned Shireen because they were desperate – they needed the Lord’s help.

Davos gets emotional as he talks about his love for Shireen, and how her death accomplished nothing as Stannis failed; they all died anyway. Melisandre admits she was wrong, and Davos asks permission to execute her. Melisandre says she has been ready to die for many years (hundreds probably), but that the Lord isn’t done with her – they still have the great war to fight against the White Walkers. Jon decides to banish her to the south. Davos tells her if she ever returns, he will execute her himself.

Jon and Sansa discuss room assignments, and she tells him he should take their father’s old room. He replies he’s not a Stark, but Sansa says he is to her. Jon responds that she is the Lady of Winterfell, and she is the reason they won the battle. She apologizes for not telling him that she wrote to Littlefinger for help. Jon accepts her apology but says they need to trust each other. Sansa then states that a white raven arrived, announcing winter has come. Jon smiles, saying their father always promised it would.

Down in Dorne (unfortunately – I was hoping we wouldn’t come back here), Olenna is meeting with Ellaria and the Sand Snakes. At least Olenna makes the scene bearable by insulting the Sand Snakes and making them all shut up. Ellaria says the Lannisters have declared war on Dorne and the Tyrells, and they must become allies to survive. Olenna responds that her house is destroyed, so she isn’t after survival. Ellaria tells her she chose the wrong words – she is offering vengeance, justice…”fire and blood” finishes Varys as he steps out of the shadows (okay, so Dorne wasn’t quite as awful this time).

In Meereen, Daenerys meets with Daario to break things off. They are preparing to sail to Westeros, but Daario will stay behind to keep the peace. Daenerys tells him she must make alliances and possibly marry again. Daario says he doesn’t care – he loves her and just wants to be with her. She tells him she can’t bring him, and he resigns himself to his fate. Daario tells her he pities the lords of Westeros – they have no idea what’s coming.

Tyrion attempts to console Daenerys, but she doesn’t seem too brokenhearted. Tyrion tells her that self sacrifice makes for a good ruler. He says everything she’s ever wanted is hers for the taking and asks if she is afraid. He sees that she is, and says that’s good – the “great game is terrifying.” Daenerys admits what really scares her is letting go of someone she thought she loved, and feeling nothing. Tyrion confesses he has always been a cynic, but he finally believes in something – her. Daenerys replies she had something made for him, then names him Hand of the Queen as she pins on his new badge of office.

Back at the Twins, Walder is having dinner as a girl waits on him. He wonders where his “moron” sons are – they should have been back by now. The girl tells him they are here, and points to the pie in front of him. Walder lifts the crust to see the tip of a finger (Frey pie FTW!). He looks panicked as the girl removes her face and reveals herself as Arya Stark. Arya tells him the last thing he’ll see as he dies is a Stark smiling down at him, then slits his throat. Well, there’s another name crossed off the list.

In the Winterfell godswood, Littlefinger (looking so much like a creepy pedophile) walks up to Sansa and apologizes if he has interrupted her prayers. Sansa replies she is done with that, and all of her stupid girlish hopes. She asks what he wants, and he admits he wants the Iron Throne…with Sansa at his side. She replies it’s a pretty picture and walks away. Littlefinger stops her by saying he has declared for House Stark; Sansa replies he always serves himself. He responds that she is the future of House Stark, and that the North should rally behind the trueborn daughter, not the motherless bastard (quit trying to pit Jon and Sansa against each other! Sansa, please don’t fall for this manipulation).

Beyond the Wall, Benjen tells Meera and Bran that he must leave them. They are close to the Wall, and he can’t cross because the magic in the Wall keeps the dead from passing through. Benjen tells them he will fight for the living as long as he can (too bad he didn’t leave them the horse or any provisions – I guess poor Meera will have to drag Bran the rest of the way?).

Bran pulls himself to the weirwood, declaring that he is the Three-Eyed Raven and he has to be ready. He goes back to his vision at the Tower of Joy and follows his father into the tower (and I’m bursting with excitement!). Ned walks in to see his sister Lyanna lying in bed, covered in blood. Lyanna tells Ned she doesn’t want to die; he says she won’t and asks for water or a maester. Lyanna ignores this and pulls him closer, whispering to him. She says Robert will kill him if he finds out, and he has to protect him. “Promise me Ned” (and all the book readers rejoice!). A woman hands Ned a baby, and as the camera zooms in on the baby’s face, the scene cuts to Jon. I say R+L=J confirmed.

Jon and Sansa sit in front of an assembly of Northmen. They are arguing amongst themselves, and Jon attempts to keep the peace. Some of the men say the battle is over and want to go home. Jon says the true enemy is coming and bringing the storm. Lyanna Mormont stands up and calls out all of the Northern lords who didn’t come to the Starks aid. She says she doesn’t care if Jon is a bastard, he is her king and the King in the North.

Lord Manderly stands and admits Lyanna Mormont is right, and that he and the other lords were wrong not to support Jon. Lord Glover stands and declares his support as well. The other men rise and chant “the King in the North!” Sansa smiles, but then looks at Littlefinger. The look on his face causes her smile to fade, and I assume he is going to cause more problems for Jon and Sansa.

Jaime returns to King’s Landing, where the smoke still rises from the destroyed Sept. He arrives at the Red Keep in time to see Cersei walking to the Iron Throne. She climbs up to it and is crowned by Qyburn, who proclaims her Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Jaime looks on, disturbed, as she sits the throne; Cersei looks defiantly back at him. Something tells me the twincest is over.

Yara and Theon are setting sail from Meereen with their ships, which are joined by the former slaver ships (now sporting Targaryen banners). The dragons fly overheard, as Daenerys and Tyrion share an expectant look (with Varys in the background? How on earth did he get back so fast? He must have traded Littlefinger’s jet pack for a teleporter). Daenerys smiles, eagerly anticipating her return home.

Wow. Just, wow. I was blown away by how epic this finale turned out to be. It will be so hard waiting for next season…

What did you think – was The Winds of Winter a fitting end to season six?