-- SPOILER ALERT: There are lots of them here!
It has been six seasons since Ned Stark declared, "Winter is coming," and now it is here.
In "The Winds of Winter," the season six finale of "Game of Thrones," Jon Snow and the North plan for the future, Daenerys plans to sail to Westeros, and a popular fan theory is confirmed. We start in King's Landing, where Cersei Lannister and Loras Tyrell are to face trial for their crimes against the gods.
Loras is up first, and he immediately confesses. He is marked with the symbol of the Faith, the seven-pointed star, which worries his sister, Queen Margaery. The queen is also concerned that Cersei has not arrived for her trial. Margaery tries to warn everyone that something bad is about to happen and everyone must leave the sept, but they are blocked by the sparrows. Then the entire place blows up, thanks to the rumored stash of explosive wildfire beneath the sept that Cersei uncovered, and everyone at the trial dies, including Margaery, Loras and the High Sparrow.
Cersei celebrates her victory by torturing Unella, the septa who tormented Cersei when she was in captivity. She doesn't have long to celebrate, however, as King Tommen, who watched the destruction of the sept from his room in the Red Keep, jumps out his window and kills himself. With the last of her children and yet another king of Westeros dead, Cersei is declared ruler of the realm.
Walder Frey celebrates retaking Riverrun, thanks to the Lannisters. He plans a meal with his sons, but when they don't arrive, he asks a servant where they are. She indicates his meat pie, and he realizes with horror that they have been cooked into it, and the servant reveals herself to be none other than Arya Stark, who has now gone rogue with her powers as a faceless assassin. Arya kills Frey and declares vengeance for the Red Wedding.
Sam and Gilly arrive at the Citadel, where Sam is to study to become a maester. He is allowed to enter the huge library, where it is clear he has found his new home.
Jon then meets with Sansa. She apologizes for not telling him about the knights of the Vale, who saved them from defeat in last week's episode, "Battle of the Bastards." Sansa tells him that a white raven has arrived, which means that, finally, winter is here.
Later Sansa meets with Petyr Baelish, who tells her that he wants the Iron Throne, with her as his queen. But she rebuffs him. It's just as well, because the families of the North rally around Jon and herald him the new king of the North.
Hey, we're back in Dorne! After nine episodes away, we return to the much-ignored region to find Olena Tyrell meeting with Ellaria Sand to plot revenge against the Lannisters. Varys is also at the meeting, implying that they will be aligning with Daenerys.
As Daenerys plans to sail with her forces to Westeros, she orders that her lover, Daario, stay in Mereen, because she plans to make an alliance by marriage. Tyrion tries to console her, telling the Mother of Dragons that she's finally ready to take Westeros and is part of the "great game" now. And it took only six seasons! Thankful for his counsel, she names him the hand of the queen. Then she, her new ships and, of course, her dragons begin their journey to Westeros.
North of the Wall
Bran and Meera are almost back at the Wall. But first Bran returns to his visions to see what happened in the Tower of Joy. He sees a young Ned Stark enter the tower to find his dying sister, Lyanna. A servant brings out a baby, and Lyanna makes Ned promise to protect him and keep his identity a secret. A closeup of the child cuts to a matching shot of Jon Snow. It's implied — but not made explicit — that the popular R + L = J theory is correct: Jon is not Ned's bastard but the child of Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen. Rhaegar, Daenerys' older brother, kidnapped Lyanna, despite her betrothal to Robert Baratheon, leading to Robert's rebellion and putting into motion all the events in the series.