King’s Landing: Cersei, the Tyrells, the Sparrows
The show opens in King’s Landing, with the various players getting ready for Cersei and Loras’ trials to the tune of a ringing bell that becomes a moving classical medley. It makes me realize we’ve never had a scene set to music the way this one is. King’s Landing, once the center of activity in the show, has been at a slow boil all season. The times we thought we’d get action, we were disappointed (Jaime confronting the High Sparrow with his army, Cersei having FrankenMountain behead a random sparrow).
Cersei, High Sparrow, Margaery, Loras, their father Mace, Kevan, Lancel and Grand Maester Pycelle gather in the Sept of Baelor while Tommen refuses to attend out of guilt and shame. Before Pycelle arrives, a little bird (aka a child spy) informs him of something secret.
The trial gets underway. Loras goes first. Instead of undergoing a trial, he freely admits everything he is “accused” of – his homosexuality, loving Renly and lying about it. In something that catches even High Sparrow surprise, Loras asks to join the Faith a a show of his repentance and loyalty, which means giving up his rights as the heir to Highgarden. They accept and carve the seven-pointed star on the Tyrell heir’s head.
Margaery is pissed but there’s a more pressing matter – Cersei didn’t arrive for her trial. Back in the Red Keep, FrankenMountain arrives at Tommen’s door and stops him from leaving. What follows is a slow build to horror with the multitude, set to the piano, strings and female vocals from earlier.
The little bird Pycelle followed, it turns out, was leading him into a trap of Qyburn’s. He is dispatched by the child spies. Lancel, sent by the High Sparrow, follows another such bird into the catacombs of King’s Landing, which only succeeds in getting him stabbed. It’s here where, in secret from all of King’s Landing and even us the audience, Cersei and Qyburn found something.
Margaery, the savvy operator she is, realizes something is amiss long before High Sparrow does, but her protestations are fruitless. She tries to stir the Sept to action, to leave. In the catacombs, an injured Lancel realizes everything and crawls toward the improvised fuse (a candle waiting to touch the green liquid). In a single moment, everyone everywhere realizes . . . and then they are all incinerated. High Sparrow and his minions, the Tyrells, all the stray Lannisters . . . all wiped from the game board in an instant.
As the Great Sept of Baelor is destroyed in the distance, Cersei smiles from the Red Keep, Tommen in shock. Next up for our Mad Queen, torturing her former torturer Septa Unella, by waterboarding her with wine and her twisted confession. But her final surprise proves the kicker: she has FrankenMountain remove his mask and then simply stand by her side, staring at her through the rotted flesh. “This is your god, now” the Mad Queen yells.
In his tower, through an open window that shows the devastation from Cersei’s wrath, King Tommen promptly leaps to his death. Qyburn informs her and she demands to see his body. She orders his body burnt and his ashes buried at the ruins of the Great Sept.