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What a superb season of TV this has been. Oh boy, has it been good. Perhaps not the best the show has had, but I would be confident enough to say it was better than last year. Yes, things did drift for a while after Hodor’s demise, but they were put back on track in thunderous style with ‘Battle of the Bastards’ and this week’s near immaculate finale ‘The Winds of Winter’.

Last week’s fight for Winterfell left us all a little out of breath, what we had just seen was so visceral, so nasty and relentless, but what we had this week was something a little bit different. My predictions going in were for Margaery, Loris and Tommen to die. So yay, I got that right. But I got nearly all the details wrong and didn’t call basically anything outside of that. Perfect. That’s exactly what you want in a finale, a mixture of the unexpected, along with conclusions to storylines that make sense to conclude.

I really couldn’t have been happier with how events went down. The opening was absolutely terrific. In fact, it felt like a scene from another show almost, as Cersei, Tommen and Margaery were preparing for day at court, with a wonderful piano melody playing in the background (very un game of thrones), but it actually elevated the scene beyond what was on the paper, despite it being close to jarring. The wildfire was always on the cards, but I sure as shit did not expect Cersei to takeout so many when she blew up the trial, which then caused Tommen to kill himself. It was an expertly crafted sequence and I took overwhelming joy in seeing that odious piece of human waste the High Sparrow burn alive.  He will be missed by no one.

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There were lots casualties on hand this week, and with the show being so close to finishing forever, I guess it makes sense for them to want to clear the deck a little, flush out some of the superfluous characters, leaving room to focus on the stories and players that really matter. I was expecting Margaery’s death to be more traumatic, more shocking, but the energy by which all this went down was incredibly effective and definitely the right choice, kick-starting things in the best possible way.

There were many great scenes and moments to pick up on from episode ten — Jon sending Melisandre away, Arya murdering Walder Frey with the help of her new powers (a surprising reveal), Dany finally setting sale for Westeros and Jon being named King of the North along with the reveal of his parentage. This was all great stuff, coming together to make a truly tremendous finale. But this episode’s true effectiveness derived from everything that it now sets up going forward, how it has so well, and so quickly, crafted the shape of the shows final run in.

It’s rather obvious to me — but some will argue — that Littlefinger has his grip on Sansa. She says she doesn’t trust him but she seemed this week to be close to giving in to him. His description of a future with them both on the Iron Throne I think enticed Sansa, and the final words he spoke about her being the one to lead the North and not her bastard brother, permeated her thoughts during Jon’s coronation. The look on her face as they cheered Jon, taking what should be hers, the glances at Baelish… I think a coup could be on the cards. Here’s hoping! Perhaps learning that Jon isn’t Ned’s son will only add to this.

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Then there’s Dany, coming straight for Westeros along with some new friends and more waiting in the form of Dorne and Highgarden. She’s never looked a more dangerous threat, and she is attacking at the best possible time. Cersei, after the death of the last Baratheon child, is now Queen (and looking badass on the throne I might add). The deck is stacked for Miss Lannister, Arya will surely be coming for her next, The North will want its revenge and The Mother of Dragons is finally done hanging around. This could get messy, folks. I don’t see how Cersei lasts but she is nothing if not resourceful. Oh, and we can’t forget the Night King, the ultra villain of the piece, the real threat during all of this.

What the future holds isn’t entirely clear. This show always manages to surprise and take a slightly different direction than expected. But what isn’t nebulous is that this is going to be great TV. What GAME OF THRONES has achieved has been remarkable. I am sure they can hold it together for two more seasons (short ones at that). We are so close now, and things have never been more exciting. Whoever your money is on to capture the Iron Throne, we as TV fans will surely be the winner.

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Film and TV Journalist Follow: @SamuelBrace Follow: @filmandtvnow