(NEW YORK) — The epic showdown between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton has finally arrived, and the fate of Winterfell revealed. But before we get to the battle in the icy North, Daenyrs Targaryen has a fiery message for the Masters who have attacked Mereen.
As the Masters lay siege to Mereen, Daenyrs and Tyrion talk about what to do next. Daenrys wants to bring fire down on the Masters and burn their cities to the ground, but Tyrion reminds her that her father was similarly merciless without any regard for any innocents who may die in the process. The Dragon Queen sees her adviser’s point, and she meets with the Masters to negotiate her enemies’ terms of surrender. When the Masters laugh off Daenyrs threats, she calls her dragon Drogon and rides him to attack the invaders’ ships. Her other two dragons, whom Tyrion had unchained earlier in the season, join their queen to spray fire on their enemies. Meanwhile, the Dothraki army takes out the remaining Sons of the Harpy. Realizing that they’ve been beaten, two of the Masters offer the third as a sacrifice to Daenrys’ victory. Grey Worm then kills those two, and leaves the other one to tell his comrades of what happened.
Later, Yara and Theon Greyjoy arrive in Mereen to offer their ships to Daenrys. In return, they ask her to install Yara as the rightful leader of the Iron Islands. Daenrys agrees, provided that Yara promises the Iron Islands will recognize the authority of Daenyrs over the Seven Kingdoms. They agree, and a pact is made.
Up North, Ramsay Bolton and Jon Snow meet before the episode’s eponymous battle. Jon proposes Ramsay battle him one-on-one to spare the lives of both of their armies, but Ramsay, whose army is much bigger, refuses.
Team Stark returns to their camp to map strategy for the battle. Sansa insists that they can’t win with the army they have, but Jon says they have to strike now with what they have. Knowing that there is a good chance he won’t survive the battle, Jon visits with the Red Priestess Melisandre and tells her not to bring him back to life again should he die.
Finally, the battle is here. Ramsay brings out Rickon Stark, Sansa and Jon’s little brother, who’s his prisoner. It looks like Ramsay will kill Rickon right there, but, ever the sadist, he makes the littlest Stark try to run to Jon’s army while he fires arrows at him. While he avoids a few arrows, eventually an arrow strikes Rickon through the heart. Even angrier than he already was, Jon charges Ramsay’s army, with his own platoon charging behind him.
The two armies fight hard against each other, but eventually Ramsay’s encircles Jon’s. When it looks like they’re about to be slaughtered, Sansa and Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger, arrive with the Knights of the Vale, which drives Ramsay to retreat. However, Jon, the wildling leader Tormund and the wildling giant Wun break down the doors of Winterfell. Ramsay tries to kill Jon himself, but the Stark bastard evades his arrows and beats Ramsay nearly to death.
With the Bolton army defeated, the wolf banners of House Stark fly over Winterfell once again. Sansa visits Ramsay, now a prisoner. She sics Ramsay’s vicious dogs on her former captor, and walks away, satisfied.
“The Winds of Winter,” the tenth and final episode of Game of Thrones season six, airs next Sunday night on HBO.
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