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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6 Finale Review Roundup: Critics Praise ‘The Winds of Winter,’ But Think it Lacks ‘The Art of Discussion’

Many think the episode offered a brilliant end to Season 6, but some take issue with how.

Finn Jones and Natalie Dormer in "Game of Thrones."

Finn Jones and Natalie Dormer in “Game of Thrones.”

HBO

Game of Thrones” has shifted the landscape of television over its six-season run. Playing a violent, intricate and shocking game, the show’s momentum has been at full speed this season, with many thinking it may be the best season so far. A season, however, is oftentimes only as good as its finale, which the critics evaluated after last night’s “The Winds of Winter.”

READ MORE: Review: The ‘Game of Thrones’ ‘BastardBowl’ Brings About A Whole New World Order

NPR’s Eric Deggans gave the finale an A in a review for IndieWire, praising the show’s handling of women this season. Whereas last season was filled with critique on the subject, Deggans noted that “this season turned out to be a showcase for all the powerful women in the story — epitomized by where all the characters are left by the closing moments on Sunday’s episode.”

Alyssa Rosenberg of The Washington Post also loved how the episode continued to “[explore] the damage done by male domination, and what happens to women when they throw off their chains.” She thought that the finale was representative of the show’s development, saying that, “‘The Winds of Winter illustrates all the ways that the show became more fully realized than ever before in its sixth year”

Deadline’s Ross A. Lincoln was “glad [he] hesitated to call last week’s episode ‘Battle of the Bastards’ the greatest in series history,” as he believes that “‘Winds of Winter,’ tops it in every way.” Lincoln spilled his excitement for the episode’s epic-ness, saying that it “[accomplished] moving character moments, brutal machinations, and the most significant escalation of story since Season 3’s infamous Red Wedding.”

Christopher Hooton at The Independent, however, thought that the episode may have tried to do too much, comparing the writing to that of the previous week’s show and saying, “When an episode dips into just one to three plot strands (e.g episode 9 ‘The Battle of the Bastards’) it’s incredibly successful and you get the depth you want, but when it lurches around Westeros and Essos – five minutes here, five minutes there – you feel like you’re getting the TL;DR version of the scene, the end result of zealous script editing.”

READ MORE: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6 Channeled George R.R. Martin Without Him, For Better and Worse

Kevin Fitzpatrick, in his review for ScreenCrush, thought that the episode “lights a wild fire for season 7.” On the other hand, he did comment on how the finale and this season, now that they’re officially veering from the books, lacked some important aspects from previous seasons. Remembering a scene from the finale of Season 3, when Tyrion and Tywin were debating “the intersection of power, family and responsibility,” Fitzpatrick explained that that was “exactly the kind of philosophical rhetoric that felt absent from Season 6’s bigger moments” and that the episode shows how the series may have lost “the art of discussion.”

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