Man, those transitional squabbles between monarchies can be rough on the soul, can't they? After an incesty season full of assassinations, homicides and bloody deaths galore, HBO's Game of Thrones granted us a resurrection. No, Dany's deal to save pretty Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) didn't work out as planned, but Dany herself marched into a bonfire and proved that all her seemingly addle-brained crazy talk about being a true dragon wasn't so crazy after all. Not only did she survive a night in flames, but she managed to hatch three living dragons from a bunch of old rocks she'd been carting around. Well-played, kiddo! And that was just a fragment of what went down on tonight's season finale, so let's discuss the drama, shall we?
House Targaryen: Dany (Emilia Clarke) lost a loving husband and a beloved son, and she may never find true solace for that loss, but heck, she does have some new distractions to help her work through the grief: A renewed sense of purpose (Iron Chair! Iron Chair! Iron Chair!) and three new friends, Drogon (named after Khal Drogo, awww...), Viserion and Rhaegal, the birth of which is about as shocking in Dany's world as a T-Rex suddenly emerging from a barbecued rock somewhere in Canada. And what, exactly, is Dany going to do with those dragons, which presumably breathe fire, as all good dragons do? Well, in the far-off future, a flamethrowing aerial assault team might very well turn out to be useful in the war against whatever is reanimating the White Walkers.
House Lannister: The Lions of Westeros are quite in disarray these days. Jaime is a prisoner of the Starks, Tywin (a "c--t" according to his very own son) is losing the war to the Young Wolf, and gods help us, when "little s--t" Joffrey is not ruling the known world, he's ordering minions to bitchslap Sansa. Meanwhile, Cersei is sleeping with...wait, who is that? (Per smart commenter below, "It's Lancel, Cersei's cousin and former squire to her husband who[m] he helped kill.") Meanwhile, not-so-awful-for-the-time-being Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) has been named as Hand of the King, in hopes that he can extend his streak of bitchslapping some sense into Joffrey. Good luck to you, dude. (Lovely family, the Lannisters.)
House Stark: What's to become of the best dire wolf pack evar? Here's what we know at the end of this installment.
Robb Stark (Richard Madden) is a beautiful badass (who, OK yes, surrenders to a childish sword-smashing tantrum when he learns of his father's execution), the bannermen pledge fealty to him as a newly created King of the North (sign us up for some of that action), and apparently Grey Wind took out a dozen men and a dozen horses during the battle against the Lannisters. Woot! Bran and Rickon both have visions of Ned's ghost visiting the crypt at Winterfell. The wilding babe Osha tries to calm their fears, but as it turns out, the childrens' dreams are probably the utmost truth. RIP, Lord-Father Eddard. Sansa (Sophie Turner) is abandoned to her own (quite limited) devices to suffer alone at King's Landing. Forced to gaze upon the detached heads of her nanny and her father while Joffrey beats her down, Sansa begins her first steps on a path from mincing girl to...something else. Make us proud, girl. We know you can do it. Arya (Maisie Williams) is rescued from the clutches of the bitchtastic Lannisters by Night's Watch recruiter Yoren, but not before she puts Needle to good use fending off some cretinous street urchins. Where she lands, nobody knows... Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) should have used that rock on Jaime Lannister, but the older generation of Starks just aren't great at pulling the triggers on their archnemeses, are they? Sigh. Last but not least, Ghost and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) made a break for it, with plans to hook up with their beloved brothers Grey Wind and Robb, but Sam, Pip and that other guy aren't having it, because Jon Snow is their brother now, and Jon Snow and Ghost are like, "Sigh, fine. Vows, honor, yadda yadda, we give up." It's all for the best though, because the world needs to keep Jon Snow in reserve for use in dealing with all the horrible, horrible things that haven't happened yet.
House Mormont: Up at the Wall, Daddy Jeor Mormont, aka the Old Bear, decides he's had it with the mystery of the White Walkers, and he's going out for some crime-solving and ice-zombie-killin'. Across the narrow sea, the Old Bear's long-lost son Jorah has a mad crush on Dany and keeps trying to fish her out of the fire, even though she very much doesn't want or need to be saved. Can't wait until Jon Snow and Jorah finally meet: Do you think Jon will hand over the sword Longclaw, which is Jorah's by hereditary right?
Everybody Else: We salute Varys, Littlefinger and Old Maester Crunchy Joints. Those courtiers are scam artists all, and entertaining ones at that. It's like watching an episode of The West Wing set in hell. Good times.
Long story short, if the "game of thrones" were a game of chess, there would be maybe four pawns and two rooks on the board at this stage. We have a looong way to go before anyone calls checkmate. Who most deserves to sit in that damn Iron Chair? Make your pick in the comments: