And Now Our Watch is Ended: The Five Biggest Bombshells from HBO’s Game of Thrones Finale

The sixth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series, was momentous for several reasons: totally predictable resurrections, huge CGI battles, and adorably sarcastic little girls have rounded out a truly fantastic 10-week-long binge of hard-edged fantasy television. The main reason why this season is particularly exciting is that it’s the first one to venture into territory not yet covered in Martin’s book series (the last book he published was A Dance with Dragons, back in 2011).

After one of the most epic episodes in broadcast history last week, Game of Thrones managed to top itself in this week’s finale episode, The Winds of Winter, presumably named after Martin’s forthcoming novel of the same name set to be the sixth book of his series. This episode revealed secrets that some readers have been waiting literally 20 years to confirm, and we have the low-down on the five biggest bombshells this episode dropped on faithful fans of the books, in descending order of is-this-real-life feelings.

Warning: Major Spoiler Alert

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Cersei Lannister finally did burn cities to the ground!

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After talking about it for at least two books and three TV seasons, Cersei Lannister finally did what we all expected her to –- just a bit sooner than anyone ever supposed. Her nefarious, game-changing plot to blow up the Sept of Baelor (where she was supposed to be on trial for murdering her husband) was brilliantly filmed, and easily one of the most lethal moments in the story’s history. Killing more major players than the infamous Red Wedding (RIP High Sparrow, Margery, and Uncle Kevan), the saddest death is probably the suicide of Tommen, who frankly wasn’t cut out for all this evil. Now, Cersei has crowned herself Queen of Westeros in her own right, and she did it in a very royal dominatrix outfit – just in time to lock eyes with her twin brother, Jamie, who looks like he’s seriously reconsidering the nature of their relationship.

Arya Stark is fulfilling her destiny as a psychotic vengeful assassin

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Even though everyone is happy to see Walder Frey, Robb Stark’s incredibly ineffective wedding planner, get his justified comeuppance, it’s distressing to see how creepy Arya Stark has become. After two seasons in face-swapping assassin boot camp at The House of Black and White, Arya is finally back home, and taking out the names on her death-list (which might mean trouble for the newly-minted Queen Cersei). It was nice to see the inclusion of Frey Pies, a book-based theory about Walder’s sons being ground up into meat pies. Hopefully Arya does more than murder people, and gets the family reunion she deserves.

The King in the North, Part 2

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So after a rousing speech from a girl who’s pushing 10, Jon Snow was declared the new King in the North. Last week’s victory against evil incarnate Ramsay Bolton was pretty inspiring, so it’s only natural that he takes the lead as “The White Wolf” in the North. Even trueborn sis Sansa is smiling about the declaration, up until she locks eyes with Littlefinger, the creepiest man in the Seven Kingdoms. Will she take him out to support her brother? Will she get convinced to go against her brother? Only time will tell.

Speaking of Jon Snow…

After literally 20 years of waiting, the biggest theory in the A Song of Ice and Fire universe was revealed last night. R+L=J is a theory about Jon Snow’s true parentage, arguing that he’s not Ned Stark’s bastard son, but actually a secret Stark-Targaryen hybrid. Here’s a quick video breakdown:

Now that watchers and readers know the truth, how will Jon discover that he might actually be the rightful heir to the throne of Westeros? Most theories revolve around the Winterfell crypts, but no matter how Jon finds out, it’ll definitely be a game changer, both for him personally and for his potential new family connections.

Last but not least, the moment we’ve all been waiting for!

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Finally, after years tangled in a Meereenese knot, Daenerys Stormborn is finally heading to Westeros with a sick fleet filled with Unsullied, Dothraki and Ironborn Reavers. She’s already set up an alliance with the Martells and the Tyrells, two of the most powerful families in Westeros, and is showing up with three almost fully grown dragons. She’s revealed that she’s fundamentally afraid that the role of Queen won’t make her happy, but is powering through her anxieties to win the Iron Throne. And, with a mad queen sitting on it presently, Dany might actually be welcomed by the majority of Westeros.

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