After a fire-breathing classic, where does ‘Thrones’ go next?
Daenerys soared, Drogon roared and hundreds of hapless Lannister soldiers were turned into extra crispy fries on Sunday’s “Game of Thrones.”
Once again the Emmy-award winning HBO fantasy drama took the bar for small-screen spectacle, raised it and then chucked it out the window.
The battle between Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) Dothraki warriors and the Lannister forces — with one terrifying dragon spiraling in the skies — was years in the making and yet played completely new and unexpected.
At the midpoint of the penultimate season, show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are burning through story. Secondary characters are falling by the wayside faster than Cersei (Lena Headey) can polish off a bottle of wine.
The House of Frey was wiped out by a face-shifting Arya (Maisie Williams). Ellaria, the Sand Snakes, the Greyjoy fleet and Lady Olenna Tyrell have all been eliminated. Olenna, played by the legendary Diana Rigg, downed her poisoned drink and got in a last shot at the Lannisters, describing her murder of Joffrey better than any TV recapper.
“Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me,” she told Jaime Lannister, the evil boy’s father.
Meanwhile Ned and Catelyn Stark’s surviving children have reunited at Winterfell. As the new Three-Eyed Raven, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) speaks of seeing through time and has seemingly relinquished his humanity.
Arya delights in her prowess with a blade and is far too quick to laugh about her death list. Sansa (Sophie Turner), a woman who was terrorized by the show’s greatest psychopaths, Joffrey and Ramsay Bolton, looks like a paragon of stability by comparison.
So, with only three episodes left in this season, what’s next?
HBO has not released any spoilers about the show’s arc, but we can pretend to have Bran’s precognitive powers for just a moment.
The war between the Lannisters and Daenerys will be settled by the end of this season. Daenerys will be victorious, although she may not be the one to claim the Iron Throne.
Daenerys and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) will totally do it. A man doesn’t take a woman to look at cave paintings unless he’s into her. Sure, she is his aunt, but on this show, that might as well make them strangers.
Cersei’s greatest fear will be realized: One of her younger brothers will kill her — but it won’t be Jaime or Tyrion cutting her throat. It will be Arya wearing one of their faces.
The East will fall to the White Walkers.
The last season will pit the survivors of the houses great and small against the White Walkers and the Night King. And HBO will find a way in the final six episodes to top even Sunday’s epic episode. On “Game of Thrones,” the only thing you can count on is the spectacular.