I don’t think I’ll ever stop happy dancing, because I am so surprisingly pleased by the most recent episode of Game of Thrones. Blood of my Blood delivered way more than I could have ever hoped, and for that, I am happy dancing.
Spoilers for Season 6, Episode 6 are coming.
You have been warned.
Okay, so I’d like to first point out that during the “Previously on Game of Thrones”, it was really unnecessary to show the clip of “Hold the Door”. Do you really think we’ll ever forget that? NO. That was just cruel, writers. Just cruel.
BEYOND THE WALL:
Last week left us with Hodor holding the door, allowing Meera some time to get Bran as far away as she could. Seriously, Meera is a trooper. She is crying, and struggling, but keeps dragging Bran along all the while, trying to go as fast as she possibly can and this girl seriously deserves more respect. Good job Meera. Good on you.
But, her strength can only last so long, and with no sleep, in the freezing cold, dragging that much weight, it’s bound to run out. And so it does. Bran finally wakes up (we’ll get to Bran in a minute), and tells her that they’ve found them. And just when we think that all hope is lost, a rider in black comes charging in, killing the Walkers and saving Meera and Bran. As soon as this happened, I slapped myself on the forehead. How could I have been so blind!? Of course it was him all along. Though the rider’s identity isn’t revealed until the end of the episode, I knew it straight away. And was angry that I hadn’t figured it out sooner.
So, let’s back up a second. In case you haven’t read the books, let me explain that this isn’t a new plot. Back before Bran actually crossed the wall, back when he met Sam and Gilly, they led him and his companions to a dark stranger on a horse. Not quite dead or alive, but extremely helpful. We don’t know who this stranger is, we don’t even know what he is or why he’s helping them, but he’s saving the lives of a lot of good characters, so we let it pass.
Did it cross my mind that the rider was him? Yep. But I quickly dismissed it. I mean, when a Stark is involved, it’s usually best to assume the worst case scenario. But not this time, folks. Not this time.
BENJEN FREAKING STARK IS BACK, BABY!!!!!
After six bloody seasons of being pretty much convinced that Benjen Stark is dead, or worse, the writers are all laughing at us over a cup of tea (or more likely the blood of our favourite characters). Seriously!! How did I not guess this sooner!?
Now, just because it turns out Cold Hands is Benjen Stark in the show, doesn’t necessarily mean he is in the books. But, it would make sense, wouldn’t it!?
What matters is, we have yet another Stark back from the dead (sort of). He was stabbed by a White Walker, but the Children of the Forest found him, and stopped the process, the same way they created the White Walkers in the first place. He is neither dead or alive, not quite. But dead, alive, or somewhere in between, the Starks are kicking major ass this season. First Sansa, then Jon, now Benjen. Season 6 is the season of Starks, and as a proud member of House Stark, I couldn’t be happier.
But before we move on, let’s go back to Bran. According to Benjen, he’s the new Three Eyed Raven. He has the ability inside of him to control things, he just has not yet learned how to harness and use it. But Benjen says he must do so before the Walkers find them. If he does, could he stop the White Walkers? Also, he’s seeing a lot more in his visions now, and is almost completely enveloped in them. He sees the Mad King and parts of the Tower of Joy again, as well as his father’s death and the battle at Hardhome, among other things. We’re seeing a lot of what Bran is doing, but we aren’t getting a lot of answers to why. Not yet, at least. But who knows? After all he’s been through, perhaps Benjen will bring us the answers we’ve been looking for. Either way, I really just hope there’s a conversation, even if its just through sending ravens, between Jon and Benjen talking about what it’s like being dead, actually not dead. It needs to happen. Starks unite!
We finally meet Samwell’s family and see where he grew up, and WOW. I have to say, it was way more lavish than I imagined. It looked like a freaking castle, for R’hllor’s sake. Definitely intimidating, as was his father. But his sister and mother? Why are we just meeting these women now!?
Unlike the nastiness of Lord Tarly, the women of Horn hill are nothing short of warm and loving people. They take Gilly and Sam in with open arms. But the men of Horn Hill are slightly less welcoming. Honestly, that dinner scene was one of the most uncomfortable, awkward ones to date.
Sam completely retreats into himself, so terrified of his father. And understandably so, he seems like a really, genuinely terrible person. So far, his brother isn’t nearly as bad or as arrogant as I was expecting, but there are still plenty of episodes to come, so I won’t hold my breath.
When Gilly stands up for Sam, saying he’s a better warrior than they’ll ever be, that he killed a Thenn and a White Walker, she accidentally implies that she’s a Wildling. And if there’s one thing that Randyll Tarly hates more than his own son, it’s Wildlings. He threatens to throw her out, but Sam’s mother proves how different she is from her husband, telling him that he dishonors himself, and leads Gilly upstairs, along with Sam’s sister. They are invited to stay, as long as Sam leaves, but in the middle of the night, he convinces Gilly to take little Sam and leave with him. He takes the family Valyrian sword with him, Heartsbane. This is sweet and brave and all, but it wasn’t the most intelligent decision. I’m all for them sticking together, but this is Westeros. It’s dangerous at the best of times. While Randyll may be an awful excuse for a human being, his wife and daughter couldn’t differ more from him. Would it really have been so bad to stay with them? Maybe it’s not ideal, but this is Westeros. And I’m not sure how well this plan is going to carry out.
And the Freys are back. Oh joy.
While the Blackfish may have escaped the Freys’ clutches, Edmure is still very much in their grasp. So, how will this go down? Is Edmure maybe working with the Freys, desperate to go home? Will Brynden Tully surrender to the Freys to get Edmure back? Family, Duty, Honor may be the Tully words, but will they ring true? It’s hard to say. But the fate of Edmure concerns me little. All I want is for the Freys to get what’s coming to them. They murdered Robb Stark. For that they must pay.
But this isn’t a new plot. If there’s anything this episode contained, it was old book plots. Which is fantastic, they’re finally including some really interesting pieces. But could this mean that maybe Lady Stoneheart can be expected to be seen at some point? Perhaps. What better way to get vengeance than to have the crazy and not so dead as hell Catelyn Stark rip out the Freys throats? I don’t know that there is one.
Back in the High Sept, the Lannisters aren’t exactly on the same page. And this is thanks to the High Sparrow and his clever manipulation. He allows Tommen to see Margaery, and while they speak, she convinces him that she was very good at seeming good, but until now, she’s never been able to admit it to herself. That even though she loves her brother, even though he’s pure, he must atone for his sins. As must she. As must everyone. Though at the beginning of the conversation Tommen seems still against the High Sparrow, Margaery works her magic and brings him over. This act probably prevented civil war, so yeah, I’m going to call it. Well done, Margaery, you clever girl.
Jaime and Mace Tyrell march forward to the Sept with an army before Margaery takes the walk of atonement. Jaime demands Margaery and Loras be handed over, and if this is done, no blood will be shed. The High Sparrow then drones on about how he doesn’t have the power to give them, and Jaime doesn’t have the power to ask for them, blah blah blah. At which point Jaime rides up the steps and looks pretty badass doing it, I have to say. He threatens the High Sparrow yet again, but he says they do not fear death in service of the Gods, they want it. Of course, Jaime falls silent at this point. He may be able to hold a sword now, but he isn’t near the fighter he used to be. He may be able to take down one before the rest take him down, so he simply pauses, waiting for either the Sparrow to say something, or for a better idea to come to him.
Luckily, the High Sparrow then says that Margaery will not make the walk of atonement, as she has brought another into the light of the Gods. And who should walk out but King Tommen himself. Is this bad? For King’s Landing, and for Tommen and Margaery, definitely not. The people love this new union between the Crown and the Faith, and it’s keeping peace in the city, for one more day at least. And of course, it brings the next plot, WHICH I AM SO EXCITED FOR!!
Book readers will know that back in A Feast For Crows, Jaime was not in King’s Landing or in Dorne, he was in the Riverlands, sent to take them back from Brynden Tully, and try to stop the small, albeit still important chaos happening there. He’s actually happy to leave, because he’s really done with Cersei. Of course, this is far from the case in the show. Tommen says that he cannot serve in the city, and no longer can be a member of the Kingsguard as he acted against the faith, and therefore the crown. But as he has served well and loyally up until that point, he may serve outside the city, retaking the Riverlands. And though he doesn’t want to leave Cersei, he cannot disobey the king.
Truthfully, this is the best thing that could have happened for this character.
Jaime is actually a fantastic person. He’s changed a lot since Season 1, but whenever he’s around Cersei, he loses a lot of the qualities that we love so much. We don’t love the man who wants to sleep with his sister. No, we love the man who refuses to admit he has a thing for Brienne and jumped into a bear pit without a weapon to save her!! Like!!! And now that he’s going to be away from Cersei, this could be a huge opportunity for Jaime to expand and grow and realize he doesn’t need Cersei. And maybe meet up with Brienne? Maybe fight for the Starks together? It’s a big, big longshot but hey, it could happen. And it needs to. Please, writers, please give us this far-fetched but really awesome plot!
Back in Braavos, Arya watches the play yet again. This time, we see them performing the Purple Wedding, King Joffrey’s death. Arya stifles laughter while the rest of the audience boos at Joffrey’s death. They actually don’t want him to die. And Arya falls silent when Lady Crane delivers her lines movingly over “Joffrey’s” body. But while she seems hesitant, she goes back and pours the poison into her drink. But before she can leave, Lady Crane spots her, and they talk. Lady Crane says she delivers the lines as best she can, but it isn’t excellent writing. Arya tells her to rewrite it, and Lady Crane asks how she thinks it should go. Arya, obviously speaking from experience tells her that it’s more than just sadness. It’s anger and hatred toward the person that took this loved one away, and the urge to kill them. And after this, something in Arya snaps. She can’t kill her, and stops her from drinking the poison, hinting that it was the actress that plays Sansa that did it, before running away. The waif of course spies this, and reports back to Jaqen. He says that she may kill Arya, but quickly. Do not let her suffer.
Her plot in this episode ends with her digging out Needle and sleeping in a small room.
So, let’s be honest with ourselves here. We knew Arya could never serve the Many Faced God. Not truly. No Stark could. Starks are known for their loyalty, and I think it’s something they cannot let go of. The moment Arya buried Needle we knew the truth. She can kill those she knows deserve it. She can kill those who have slighted her. But she cannot kill an innocent, which is why she cannot serve. But what does this mean? She did not take the out when she had it, and now, this could mean death for her. She could best the waif, though we’ve seen her fight. She’s excellent, and it will be a close match. But could she die? Could this be the end for Arya Stark?
Yes. I’m not saying it definitely will be, but it is possible. Probable, even. If you take a look at Jon, or Sansa, Daenerys or Tyrion, these are characters that I believe if they are to die, it can’t be until very close to the end. They’re simply too important to the entire plot. But Arya? Well, that’s just the problem. She’s been so far removed from the big picture for a long time. She’s an excellent and interesting character, but is she needed? For right now, no. So her death could be the big one we’ve been dreading. It’s entirely possible. And if it isn’t, well, Arya will have to really step up her training in order to escape death.
ACROSS THE NARROW SEA:
In between Vaes Dothrak and Meereen, Daenerys leads her new khalasar across the land. She asks Daario how many ships she’ll need to take her army to Westeros, and he tells her a thousand. But she wasn’t made to sit on a chair. She’s a conqueror. But she’s been fighting for this for six seasons now, she’s not about to give up now.
She rides forward, telling Daario to wait there, and the men start growing restless without their Khaleesi. But they all fall silent when she reappears RIDING DROGON!!
I’m so happy to seeing her ride dragons again this soon!! She is so powerful right now, which is absolutely fantastic and exactly what her plot needed. That last scene gave me major chills from head to toe. She screams to them that she is no Khal, she will not choose three bloodriders, but chooses them all. She asks if they will help her take the Iron Throne, if they will cross the poison waters as no Dothraki has before, as Khal Drogo promised her as a gift. They all shout back, supporting her completely. They are with her. Now and always.
It’s such a powerful and inspiring scene, and I couldn’t be happier about Daenerys’ position right now. She is without a doubt one of the most powerful people in the land right now, and it’s entirely possible that this season could end with her beginning her journey to Westeros!! Finally!!!
This episode was bloody brilliant. A lot of old book plots are coming up, which is awesome, and Daenerys is back on top, where she should be. And Benjen Stark is back!!!! It’s just a really good time to be a Thrones fan. For now, at least. I’m sure that will change completely next Sunday.