The last season of Game of Thrones will begin in Australia on Monday, July 17th. Albeit, the season will be split into two and probably wrap in 2019. However, we are beginning the final leg of what has been a remarkable television journey. To celebrate, we thought we’d cast a look back to ten of our favourite moments from the show in the lead up to the season premiere. Look out for interviews with the cast of the show in next month’s digi-mag (issue #27).
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.
For a show that became famous for pulling the rug out from underneath its audience in spectacular fashion, and for pushing storylines in new and exciting directions, Season 6 of Game of Thrones marked the beginning of the end. With a reduced list of established characters, they began to come together and interact with each other more, and after so many horrible moments of loss and pain, we began to see things coming together for the good guys. Battle of the Bastards was high-end filmmaking both regarding scale, storytelling, and originality. However, the origin of that moment is in a much smaller one.
Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) have been through a lot over the past six seasons, but in Episode 1 of last season, The Red Woman, Sansa was rescued by Brienne in an unexpected, crowd-pleasing moment. Having had her service rejected by the Stark girl previously, and having failed masters before, Gwendoline Christie wonderfully underplayed Brienne’s victory over the Bolton men and her subsequent oath of service to Sansa. A small skirmish in some unremarkable woods, a simple gesture between two unadorned people (with one even unsure of the words she must speak), while another two – Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) and Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman) – bear witness. It is the tradition and ritual of it that gives it its imporantance; it is the actions that stand behind such words and ceremony. Sansa Stark could yet rule the North, and Brienne could be invaluable in helping make that journey possible.
Not only is there a great possible future stemming from this moment, but a whole lot of history as well that makes it so powerful. Sansa suffered at the hands of Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) after turning down Brienne’s offer previously, but she has survived to become a harder, stronger force in the subsequent season, and Brienne herself has had her revenge on Stannis (Stephen Dillane) for Renly Baratheon’s (Gethin Anthony) murder.
The moment fulfils promises made to Sansa’s late mother, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), and to Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) of all people. Twyin Lannister (Charles Dance) took Ned Stark’s sword and reforged it into two, giving one to his oldest son as a symbol of his legacy. Jaime instead gave it to Brienne as an acceptance of him no longer being a great swordsman, but in turn as a symbol of him trying to redeem his past through her. Not to mention, as a metaphor for what is between them. The steel in the sword Oathkeeper that cuts down Ramsay’s men as they attack Sansa Stark is the same steel that Ned Stark (Sean Bean) wielded with his sword Ice in the very first episode, whilst talking about justice.
From small moments, big moments are born. Add them all up, and you define your fate. Brienne of Tarth has remained true in her oath to Sansa Stark. The question now, as Season 7 ramps up is, will it have proven too late? Will Sansa Stark be a leader worthy of such loyalty or will she have been corrupted by the cruelty she has experienced and the influence wielded by Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen)?