Winter is here

The Starks have been arguably one of the hardest hit houses throughout the tenure of 'Game of Thrones' on HBO. Eddard Stark lost his head, Bran lost his legs, Arya lost her eyes (and for a time, her identity), Sansa lost her innocence, and Robb, Catelyn, and Jon lost their lives (along with most of their dire wolves). Throughout the course of the last six seasons of 'Game of Thrones,' House Stark has managed to cling to what's right and just, and cling to the idea that Winter was coming. With the latest episode and Season 6 finale 'The Winds of Winter,' Winter is here.

The King in the North

Following the battle for Winterfell, we find Jon and Sansa slowly settling into life back inside their old home, with the Stark banners still only freshly hung back on the old walls. Davos finally confronts Melissandre about the events leading up to Shireen's death, and, despite the fact that Jon and his men will need all the help they can get once it comes time to face the Night King and the horde of his undead, Jon (very much echoing Eddard) does the just thing and sends the red priestess on her way South, forbidding her from ever again setting foot in the North.

Arguably the most moving scene in this entire story arc revolved around Jon and Sansa sitting at the head of their table surrounded by their loyal bannermen, the Knights of the Vale, and Little Finger. In those moments, the men were still very shaken after the battle with Ramsey's forces, and they were very much looking for a unifying voice to once more band them together in the North. After some harsh truths spoken by Lady Mormont, they all decide that it should be Jon Snow to which they owe both their swords and their allegiance, followed by everyone in attendance shouting in unison for "the King in the North."

There is absolutely no way that anyone that has followed this show could not have been utterly and completely moved by this scene.

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Game Of Thrones

After everything that the Stark's have been through in their individual storylines, there is a certain sense of pride that wells up watching as swords were raised and hearing the roar of that chant for House Stark and Jon Snow. The irony, of course, is what we finally find out about Jon's true lineage.

R+L=J

In one of Bran's Three-eyed Raven-induced visions, it seems that a longtime Game of Thrones theory was finally confirmed.

We see Eddard Stark head up into the tower to find his sister bleeding to death after giving birth to a baby boy. She urges him to promise her that he will take care of the child and raise it as his own, essentially visual confirmation of the theory that Jon Snow is in fact the offspring of both Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. This leaves the door wide open for an eventual crossing of paths between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen in either of the final two seasons of the show, and gives further credence to the idea that Jon will eventually be riding one of the three dragons alongside Dani.

Arya's Revenge

In what was certainly a most unexpected plot twist, we first see Jamie Lannisterin the House Frey as they celebrate the retaking of Riverrun. One of the maids/servants eyes Jamie from the corner and he, being who he is, assumes that it's for his charming good looks. Later, we see the same servant giving the elder Frey his lunch in a deserted hall. The elder Frey grumpily inquires as to the whereabouts of his sons.

The maid servant tell him that they are there on the plate, and, to his horror, he discovers that both of his sons have been cooked into the meal. At that point, Arya uses the skills she acquired while in the House of Black and White to full effect, pulling off the woman's face to reveal her own, and exacting her revenge upon the elder Frey with a precise slit of the throat.

It's clear by this point that Arya has crossed over from a young, innocent girl to a full-fledged murderer, but, ultimately, this is an episode for the Starks that the North (and everyone else) will remember for a long time.

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