'Game of Thrones' Ends on Explosive Note

Season finales of Game of Thrones typically deal with the fallout from the previous episode 9 and set the stage for the next season. This episode did hit both beats, but went far beyond its predecessors by using a series of groundbreaking events to set up Season 7, leaving the entirety of Season 6 on an explosive cliffhanger.

After years of speculation and granular fan theorizing, we finally have confirmation that R+L does in fact equal J. Bran Stark finally follows past-Ned up into the Tower of Joy, where we find Lyanna in her infamous pool of blood, having just given birth to baby Jon Snow, and Ned promises his sister to protect Jon from those who would wish to harm him (namely Robert).

So what does this mean for everyone's favorite bastard? Ironically, it isn't this revelation that propels him to respect and admiration from his Northern compatriots, who follow the lead of Queen of our hearts Lyanna Mormont. Rather, as we've seen throughout this season, it is his courage and trademark Stark nobility that has now earned him the title "King in the North" (RIP Robb Stark).

However, not everyone in the North is happy with this development: the glance between Littlefinger and Sansa indicates this wasn't part of the plan. Lord Baelish originally intended to wed Sansa after she would presumably become Queen in the North, and now Jon might be in his crosshairs…

On the other side of Westeros, back in King's Landing, another regal figure rises up, but in a markedly different way. In one fiery swoop, as many had predicted, Cersei takes out virtually all her enemies before they can try and publicly shame her (again). The Faith Militant, their unbearingly preachy leader the High Sparrow, Margaery, Mace, and Loras Tyrell, her uncle Kevan Lannister, and dozens of others perish when the she and Qyburn set the wildfire aflame. When her son Tommen sees this, realizing he's lost his wife Margaery, he promptly commits suicide by walking out a window (#irony ). Maggy the Frog's prophecy, seen in Season 5, about all Cersei's children's deaths, has finally come to pass. "Gold will be their shrouds" indeed.

Apologies in advance for the flood of #GameofThrones tweets. But prediction, EVERYTHING WILL BURN. Via Cersei. pic.twitter.com/u5wjTBmLdc

— Roth Cornet (@RothCornet) June 27, 2016

Cersei's boneheaded attempts to "protect" her family have gone awry again. However, having destroyed the political infrastructure, she then crowns herself Queen. Most analysts of the book series and TV show have pointed out that Cersei's only true love is herself, with her love for her brother and incest-sired children an extent of that narcissism. It therefore makes sense that her sitting on the Iron Throne would be her endgame.

But she definitely doesn't have the love of the people, and almost certainly doesn't have long to reign. Factions in the North and South now oppose her. While the Dorne storyline has garnered significant criticism for its tedium, it served a crucial purpose here, tying storylines together for the larger wars to come in Season 7. Lady Olenna Tyrell, thirsty for vengeance against Cersei for killing her family, allies herself with Obara Sand and the Sand Snakes, who had just received an invitation to join Daenerys Targaryen's forces from Varys, who shows up as well. With this alliance of powerful women, this season's feminist message is crystallizing in exciting ways.

The Riverrun storyline was uneventful until its last minutes. Most of it was a smug celebration held by Walder Frey for recapturing the Tully stronghold, with Jamie just itching to get back to Cersei. But after the dinner, Arya reveals herself. Looks like the "worst internship ever" paid off, with Arya learning the assassin skills she needed to exact sweet revenge on old Walder for the brutal and infamous murder of her family: the Red Wedding, serving him his own sons in a pie, no less.

On the other side of the Narrow Sea, Dany finally sets sail for Westeros. Yes, after years of pent-up fan frustration with the show's insistence she stay in Essos, she is finally going to join the other major players. While it's sad we won't have Daario's snarky quips anymore, it makes sense that she would need to leave her lover behind as she would need to form a new alliance through marriage. However, as she points out, she didn't "feel anything" as she broke up with him, and expressed fears to Tyrion that this could be a sign she's becoming more like her father, the Mad King. Could this be an indication of things to come?