At times uneven and oddly paced, the sixth season of HBO’s blockbuster “Game of Thrones” wrapped Sunday with an explosive final episode.
For those who haven’t watched all of the most recent season as well as any corresponding books in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, here’s a spoiler warning.
While the Stark family is the beating heart of the series — they’ve been the focal point since the first episode — I continue to be fascinated by the Lannister children.
Though youngest sibling Tyrion, played by Peter Dinklage, is my favorite, I feel that the finale tipped its hand toward its endgame with the elder twins, Cersei, played by Lena Headley, and Jaime (right), who Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays.
Cersei’s always been manipulative and cunning, but crossed an irredeemable line in the season finale, bringing an abrupt and cataclysmic end to her trial for incest and regicide. In conspiracy with Qyburn, the resident Dr. Josef Mengele of “Game of Thrones,” she used hidden casks of wildfire, the universe’s more-potent-than-fire substance, to blow up a sept, a holy building, and everyone inside it. Those inside included anyone suspecting her of wrongdoing as well as many rivals, politicians and claimants to the throne.
As part of the collateral damage, the king, her last remaining child, son Tommen, jumped out of a window to his death, leaving her as queen by default and elevating creepy Qyburn to second in command.
It feels as if we've reached the boiling point on plot developments that heating since the pilot, when Jaime chucked Bran Stark out of a window to keep his sister-loving ways a secret. It’s difficult to paint “The Kingslayer” as sympathetic, considering he attempted to murder Bran, assassinated the “Mad King” Aerys, has killed scores and raped Cersei on the floor of the sept next to the corpse of their eldest son, the rotten King Joffrey.
Both have done heinous things, but Cersei’s act of mass murder pushed her across the moral event horizon. Dressed in black “Maleficent” fines, she was funereal as she became the queen of Westeros as well as its villainous (villainess, too) final boss.
Queen is a mantle she wanted, but lost all three children getting there. She flashed a wicked smile as she watched her enemies die across the city.
She is the woman who quipped the show’s title – “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die” – but who could have foreseen she would put such an emphasis on the death part?
Cersei's become a terrorist (left) and that’s not a word to be used lightly. She demolished a church and murdered dozens to free herself from the possibility of a guilty verdict.
Whether Jaime knows this is yet to be seen. It was clear from the episode’s penultimate scene that regardless of how much he knows, he finds his new, all-powerful queen worrisome.
Earlier in season six, Jaime made part of his political pitch to peacefully take over the castle of Riverrun by saying he will do “whatever it takes” to get back to Cersei. Now, he's in an impossible spot.
George R.R. Martin, the creator of this universe, has said that, like William Faulkner, he believes the only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself.
I want Jaime to find out what Cersei did. This would be juicy for the show's well-matched, but kinda icky power couple. More than 20 years after Jaime assassinated Aerys to save the citizens of King’s Landing from death by wildfire, his sister and lover weaponized the same substance to carry out a brutal, unforgivable attack.
With the upcoming final season to be split into two parts, the stakes rise as we steer toward the series finale.
So I want to see Jaime to face a choice between what’s best for the Seven Kingdoms and his love for Cersei. It will be a much harder decision than killing the Mad King. But I expect the fate of Westeros to hang in the balance.
Since his journey over the course of the series has been one of redemption – he has not killed any Starks since he vowed to Catelyn Stark he would not, he took Riverrun without bloodshed, he let Brienne escape after the takeover – I think if the moment comes, he will kill his twin sister and earn a new moniker: “The Queenslayer.”