Game of Thrones - Tommen

Game of Thrones prides itself on unpredictability, but the end of each season follows a familiar structure. Episode nine is where things comes to a head — the most shocking deaths, the biggest bombshells, and the bulk of the special effects budget are generally saved for the penultimate entry in each season. And then episode ten is where the season ties up some loose ends, and starts laying the groundwork for the next season.

Last night’s installment, “Battle of the Bastards,” stuck to that usual pattern. We got a long-awaited showdown which may have been the most visually impressive set piece Game of Thrones has ever done. But the show isn’t done with its twists and turns. The Game of Thrones season 6 finale trailer debuted after last night’s episode, and it teases some major developments at King’s Landing and over in the Riverlands.

Obviously, spoilers for the most recent episode of Game of Thrones are ahead. If you haven’t seen “Battle of the Bastards,” come back when you have. 

“Battle of the Bastards” focused exclusively on two conflicts: the one between the Starks and the Boltons over Winterfell, and the one between Daenerys Targaryen and the Masters in Meereen. That means a lot of significant characters were benched this week, but it looks like a bunch of them will be back for the finale. In King’s Landing, Cersei, Margaery, and Loras face the Faith Militant and stand trial. Meanwhile in the Riverlands, Walder Frey smugly toasts to the alliance between the Freys and the Lannisters. No one on Game of Thrones is allowed to stay cocky for long, so this probably just means they’re in for some Red Wedding-style retribution.

The finale also promises to pick back up with a few characters we did see this week. Davos finally confronts Melisandre about what happened to Shireen, and Tyrion continues offering Daenerys his advice. Also, if the show isn’t setting up a romance between Jon and Sansa, then I have no idea what they’re trying to accomplish with all those meaningful looks and tender kisses.

Worth noting is which characters we don’t see. There’s no sign of Arya, Varys, Brienne, any of the Tullys, or anyone in Dorne. It could be that they’ve just been left out of the trailer, but it’s also quite likely it means we’ve seen the last of them for now, and won’t revisit them until season 7. Go ahead and make your guesses in the comments about what’s next for this long-suffering cast of heroes, antiheroes, and villains.

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