Major spoilers ahead for the 'Game of Thrones' Season 6 finale.
Over the course of five seasons, Margaery Tyrell has brought something unique to Game of Thrones. In a show with its fair share of exceedingly creepy schemers (hey, Littlefinger) and good guys not smart enough to outwit the enemy, Margaery demonstrated the wit and the intellect to play the great game, retain her humanity, and not only stay alive, but marry into royalty — three times.
And yet, in a twisted end with echoes of Shakespearean tragedy, that same wit — that clear sense of ambition — would prove to be her downfall. The men Margaery attached herself to had the status she desired, but were inherently weak.
Renly was unwilling to consummate the marriage, Joffrey too short-sighted to see that his growing list of enemies would get him killed, and Tommen simply too naive to recognize that he was being manipulated from every angle.
Each of these rulers' weaknesses got themselves killed, and with each new marriage Margaery found herself further stifled by the stupidity of men as much as by the burning enmity she shared with Cersei Lannister. In this weekend's all-time greatest season finale, "The Winds of Winter," Margaery's luck finally ran out. Relive that truly breathtaking sequence below, and try not to shed a tear as wildfire consumes Margaery and poor, weak Ser Loras.
As much as the men she married would prove the thorn in her side (pun absolutely not intended), the ultimate architect of her downfall was, ironically, a man far cleverer than Margaery's three husbands: the High Sparrow. Margaery gambled on the religious fanatic as the man who could help her outmaneuver her great enemy the queen regent, but the Sparrow had failed to recognize Cersei's capacity for evil and burning desire for vengeance.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Natalie Dormer reached the same verdict:
The reason it all goes tits up is because Margaery wasn’t in control of the battle against Cersei. She had to hand the reins over to the High Sparrow and Cersei outplays him. By the end, Margaery is a victim of the High Sparrow’s incompetence. He underestimates Cersei and that’s something Margaery Tyrell would never do.
The House Tyrell may have the money to bankroll King's Landing, but that was never enough for Margaery. Perhaps Cersei recognized something of herself in the younger, more beautiful queen; both women felt they deserved the glory of the throne, and both had the cunning to achieve it. Both, too, have been let down by short-sighted men time after time.
Something to think about, though: Margaery may be dead, along with the hundreds of others in the Great Sept, but her death triggered Tommen's suicide. That, in turn, completed Cersei's descent into absolute insanity; the Queen barely even appeared mournful as she received the news of her final living child's death.
The Starks' triumph in the North is evidence that Game of Thrones is, ultimately, rooting for the good guys, and as that fateful prophecy predicted, Cersei Lannister is not long for this world.
When her old enemy is burning in hell, vengeance having come for her, perhaps Margaery will allow herself a wry smile while hoping that the next smart young woman to skirt the throne doesn't put too much faith in a man.