There isn't a bad season of Game of Thrones, just varying levels of brilliance. While season six wasn't the best offering as a whole, there were some jaw-dropping, unforgettable moments. Sinead Brennan rounds up the biggest talking points of the season.
1. The Second Coming of Jon Snow
With so many incredible moments to choose from, it only seems right that I start at the very beginning, with the mystery that kept the fans talking for months on end – Jon Snow's fate.
At the end of season five fans were left in a state of shock and severe sadness when a number of members of the Night's Watch turned on their Lord Commander, leaving him for dead on the cold hard ground of Castle Black.
While the opening scenes of season six picked up the storyline from where it was left off, it wasn't until episode two that we actually got what we all wanted; an answer. The road to resurrection couldn't be too smooth after all.
Having never given up hope on Jon Snow, the moment he opened his eyes and drew breath was simply amazing. None of us wanted to believe that he was actually dead and it felt great that the showrunners gave us something that we actually wanted, a moment of hope, happiness and vindication.
Without Jon Snow, a few of the other season highlights wouldn't have been possible, which brings me to...
Yes!! In the season finale we finally found out that one of the biggest fan theories was true. Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, meaning he is the Song of Ice and Fire.
As the Tower of Joy scene was revisited in The Winds of Winter, having been frustratingly cut short earlier in the season, we saw Ned Stark reunite with his sister, who was lying in bed, covered in blood.
Uttering those all important words "you have to protect him, promise me" I became covered in goosebumps. It was the perfect reveal.
Having been hailed King of the North, the Targaryen bloodline looks set to regain its power in Westeros as his aunt Daenerys sets sail.
3. Ramsay's Demise
Ramsay Snow/Bolton, the only man in Westeros that could make Joffrey look like a good guy. Where Joffrey was despicable and a character you loved to hate, Ramsay was just pure evil and some of his scenes were genuinely uncomfortable to watch. Like all good villains, the time came for him to be undone. It had to be orchestrated in the right way, and The Battle of the Bastards was the perfect way to (finally) bid him goodbye.
After all that he had done it was only fitting that he meet a gruesome end and I loved that Sansa got to have a taste of revenge in the process. Only on Game of Thrones would it seem like a kind-of cute big brother move that Jon would stop himself from pummelling Ramsay to death in order to let his little sister have her moment - a bit of counselling perhaps?
The entire battle was excellently choreographed, from Ramsay's final, twisted game that resulted in Rickon's death (RIP to the Stark we barely knew), to the Knight's of the Vale arriving in the nick of time, to Jon and Ramsay's final showdown; it was all action, tension and drama. Despite its predictability, it's up there with the best episodes ever.
4. Hold The Door
In a horrifically sad twist of fate, one of the biggest Game of Thrones mysteries was unfurled as we finally found out why Hodor was called Hodor, and only ever said Hodor.
It was clear as soon as Bran called out to the young Ned Stark in the Tower of Joy flashback scene that there was more to his greensight abilities than the Three-Eyed Raven was letting on and to have it shown in such a way was jawdropping.
For something that always seemed so small and inconsequential, in the grand scheme of things, to have it explained and to become so important really highlights the genius of Game of Thrones and George RR Martin. It was something no one saw coming and a moment that viewers will never forget.
Losing the loyal and kind-hearted Hodor was always going to be painful, but in a way, knowing that he died doing what he was always destined to do is kind of beautiful. Of course, it also kind of makes you hate Bran just a little, but we mustn't dwell. The most bittersweet moment in the entire series, I just hope we don't have to deal with seeing him in White Walker form at some stage, that'd be a tough one to bear.
5. Daenerys, The Unburnt
It wasn't Daenerys' strongest season but being taken captive by a horde of Dothraki horsemen will have that effect. Things shifted dramatically however when we were treated to a badass display from the Mother of Dragons as she burned down the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen, taking all of the Khals with it.
This show of strength won over the Dothraki people and they all bowed before their Khaleesi in awe as she emerged godlike from the temple.
6. Tyrion Loves Dragons
The whole Meereen/Slaver's Bay visits were watchable for one reason alone; Tyrion Lannister. From his awkward chit-chat and hilarious joke time with Grey Worm and Missandei, to seeing his political mind at work, and of course his bromance with Varys, Tyrion cemented himself even more as the best character in the show.
A personal highlight for me was his interaction with Daenerys' dragons Viserion and Rhaegal.
The dragons were known to burn visitors alive, but they didn't harm Tyrion. In what was clearly a very moving moment for Tyrion, he bonded with the dragons as he freed them from their chains and it was just a brilliant scene.
I loved how he opened up about his childhood fascination with dragons and told the story about how he asked for "just a little dragon" when he was younger. And how he cried himself to sleep when Tywin told him that the last dragons were dead - so cute!
7. Stark Family Reunion
Game of Thrones rarely gives us a genuinely happy, joyful moment, but when one comes around they sure know how to tug at the heartstrings. After the events of season one the Starks were scattered around Westeros and as the plots progressed and they got pulled in different directions and developed their own goals, it was looking like a reunion would never actually happen.
The feeling that Sansa would get to Castle Black after Jon had already left, that they would be so close, yet so far (like how Jon and Bran's near-reunion went down in season four), was overwhelming. As their eyes met across the courtyard, it was just emotional. In that moment you could feel all of the things they had been through, you could feel their shock, their love, their relief.
Due to the nature of the show, I was half expecting something horrific to happen to one of them just as they reached each other for their embrace – kind of like what did happened with Jon and Rickon later – but thankfully, we were allowed to savour this moment, and it was incredible.
In another lovely scene between the pair, they reminisced about the food they ate in Winterfell growing up, Sansa apologised for being awful to Jon when they were kids, and they agreed that they wish they had never left home. Had they all just stayed in Winterfell, had Littlefinger not convinced Lysa Arryn to kill her husband, thus leading Robert Baratheon to summons Ned Stark to King's Landing to replace Jon Arryn as the Hand of the King, things would be so different.
8. A Girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell
Much like the Meereen storyline, the Braavos scenes became a bit of a chore, which is such a shame when Arya has always been a joy to watch.
When she originally set sail to Braavos, I expected her adventures with the Faceless Men to be a bit more exciting and to be honest, I expected them to stand for something more. They're really just hitmen for hire, and our Arya has her own list to be getting through without taking on other people's assignments as well.
The whole rivalry with The Waif was tiring, Jaqen H'ghar became less and less cool as time passed and I just wanted out.
The moment she finally told Jaqen "A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I am going home", it was like music to my ears. Goodbye, Braavos, I will not miss you.
In her first act as the new Arya, she crossed off a major name from her kill list; Walder Frey, the man responsible for the Red Wedding. The scene was dark and chilling as she served him up a pie made from the corpses of his sons before slitting his throat, and it makes me excited to see what she will do as she journeys home, and who else she will bump into.
9. Bran the Time Traveller
Bran's travels beyond The Wall were a bit tedious before he took his time out for season five, but it has been quite the return on our time investment this season as this plot became one of the most intriguing and exciting of the lot.
While the events in The Door (poor Hodor) were unbelievable and probably the pinnacle of his time travel, the other flashbacks and flash-forwards deserve a shout out too.
From the Tower of Joy to his time in Winterfell to the origins of the White Walkers, and the quick flashes of the Mad King, Wildfire and dragons, it's just so fascinating to get a glimpse of the events that took place before the show, that have had such an impact on the world of Game of Thrones as we know it, and a look forward at what might be coming down the line.
It also begs the question, how much of what has happened, is happening, and will happen, is as a result of Bran and his timehopping. The Three-Eyed Raven once told him that the past is already written, that the ink is dry, but if the Hodor scenario tells us anything, it's that perhaps the present and future is already determined, too.
10. Lyanna Mormont
For a show that has come under a lot of fire for its gender inequality in terms of nudity, it definitely isn't lacking in strong female characters. From Cersei to Margaery, Olenna Tyrell to Daenerys, Arya Stark to Yara Greyjoy, the list goes on; Westeros is full of strong, powerful women. None of them are quite as impressive, however, as young Lyanna Mormont.
When Jon, Sansa and Davos travelled to Bear Island to ask Lyanna, head of House Mormont, to join them in their battle for Winterfell, she won me over straight away. She is highly intelligent, quick witted, has a sharp tongue and knows her stuff. She's possibly one of the best leaders the show has seen and if she stakes a claim on the Iron Throne she has my vote.
I also loved loved loved her speech in Winterfell as she hailed Jon Snow as King of the North. "I don't care if he's a bastard, Ned Stark's blood runs in his veins" - you go, Lyanna. It may not be Ned's blood, but there is Stark blood in him all the same.
Of course, there were other highlights along the way like the (hopefully) budding romance between Brienne of Tarth and Tormund Giantsbane, that shocking moment when we saw just how old Melissandre really is, and Cersei being crowned Queen of the Seven Kingdoms after blowing the Sept to piece with Wildfire and eliminating her enemies. As always it was an eventful 10 weeks and it's going to be a long old wait for season seven.