After last week’s heartache, I craved catharsis from Game of Thrones last night. I need the death of a much-hated character or the return of an absent beloved one. And it doesn’t even need to be Stannis.
Season 6, Episode 6: Blood of my Blood
Written by Bryan Cogman
Directed by Jack Bender
We open at the close and Meera is dragging white-eyed Bran and his sled through the snow. Bran is having one frame visions of past events on the show, events with the Mad King from before the show, and events that seem to predict a White Walker heavy future.
Meera collapses, unable to drag him anymore. Bran wakes up as the pursuing wights arrive. A masked rider appears and fends off the attacking undead. He picks Bran up onto his horse and Meera jumps on the back and they flee.
Sam, loquacious with nerves, and Gilly arrive at Sam’s family home, a frankly absurd castle, and meet his family, or at least the female half who are lovely and welcoming.
At the Sept, Tommen and the High Sparrow discuss Margaery’s imminent Walk of Shame. Tommen visits Margaery and finds her cleaned up and talking as though she has found the joys of organised religion. She speaks highly of the Sparrow and chastises herself for being a sinner only concerned about her own image. She is glad to have found the error of her ways and hopes that Loras can too.
Sam and a dressed up Gilly join Sam’s family for dinner. Sam’s father is a bag of scowling misery disguised as a man and Dickon, Sam’s brother, is the Anti-Sam (good looking, athletic, well-spoken, etc). Sam makes small talk and is belittled, and Sam’s father, Randall, joins the long list of characters on Game of Thrones I’d like to see get stabbed in the neck.
Gilly defends Sam and reveals her Wildling roots, angering Randall who launches into a speech about Sam’s shit-ness featuring some choice insults and accusations leveled at Gilly, who is removed from the hall by Sam’s mother. Randall says that he will keep Gilly there working at the kitchens but Sam must be gone in the morning.
In his room, he apologises to Gilly who is angrier that bad people get to treat good people like shite. Sam says his goodbyes and leaves.
And then instantly comes back to take Gilly and Little Sam away, along with Heartsbane, the Tarly family sword made from Valerian Steel.
In Braavos, we see the mummers are performing their version of the death of Joffrey, a tragedy to everyone but the delighted Arya though she is moved by the performance of the actress playing Cersai and sees the Sansa actress waiting in the wings, mouthing the play’s lines.
Arya goes backstage and, with some trepidation, poisons the rum. Lady Crane (“Cersei”) stops her as she leaves and they chat about the play and how Crane became a mummer. Arya gives her some advice for improving her performance and her final scene, and introduces herself as Mercy.
Lady Crane talks about her script concerns and starts an argument among the troupe, which is ended when Arya/Mercy smashes the rum bottle and warns them to be careful of the younger actress (“Sansa”) as she wants Crane dead. Waif looks on.
Arya retrieves Needle from its rocky hiding place, while Waif narcs on her to Jaqen (who, incidentally is cutting off a dead dude’s face). Jaqen sends Waif to kill Arya.
In King’s Landing, Jamie watches the Tyrell army march up the street. They march to the Sept as Margaery prepares to take her Walk of Atonement. The Sparrow orates to the people of her sins and failures. The army arrives with the Queen of the Thorns carried over in a litter. Jamie explains that they want the Tyrell children back and then they’ll happily leave. The Sparrow isn’t keen on that plan and the massed horde of people watching the proceedings seem to agree with him. James rides up the stairs, which is badass, and threatens to kill every sparrow if Margaery is forced to make her walk. The Sparrow is happy to lay down his life in service of the Seven. But not today, and he cancels the atonement walk.
Because Margaery doesn’t need to atone as she has brought someone else into the light of the Seven. The doors at the top of the stair open, the King emerges, and this recapper puts his head in his hands and swears ever so loudly. The High Sparrow announces a newfound unity between the crown and the faith, and the crowd goes wild.
Jamie stands before the Iron Throne. Tommen strips him of his title as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard and dismisses him from King’s Landing.
At the Twins we find ourselves looking at the world’s worst wedding planner, Walda Frey, as he berates his sons for losing Riverrun to the Blackfish and tells them to take it back, but they explain that the Northern houses aren’t supporting them anymore as the Brotherhood without Banners is rallying the commoners against them. Walda is not listening to excuses though and tells them to remind the Blackfish what happened at the Red Wedding and who it was that got married then.
Edmore, the aforementioned groom, is brought out in chains, and Walda tells him he is going home.
Jamie tells Cersei that he is being sent to help Walda’s campaign against the Blackfish, but that he instead intends to get Bronn and as many killers as they can find and then rip the Sparrow’s head from his neck. Cersei counsels patience, and that at the head of the army, defeating their enemies, he’ll remind people that the Lannisters are not to be fucked with. Then they make out.
Far, far North, the masked rider is preparing dinner. He tells Meera that he saved them because the Three-Eyed Raven sent for him. Bran awakes and the rider says that he hasn’t seen Bran since Bran was a child, and then reveals himself to be Benjen Stark, Ned’s brother. He tells how the Children of the Forest (the Leaves) saved him and that Bran needs to become Raven before the Night King gets to the Wall.
At the Dothraki Sea, Daenarys leads her Khalassar. She asks Daario how many ships she would need to ferry her ridiculously big army across the sea and he replies that she would need a thousand ships and that no one has that amount. She rides ahead alone and after some restless minutes Daario goes to follow her. He stops however when there is a screech and a dragon flies overhead, ridden by Daenarys. She declares that all of the Khals are her bloodriders, all them are the blood of her blood. And that together, they are going to take over the world.
No one died in this episode. No one showed off their warty cock or flashed their boobs. Has this ever happened before? I don’t think so.
After last week’s jam-packed episode this week could feel like a comedown or a breather. Some pieces moved around and we got a sense of some future plots on the way but there were no seismic shifts save for the High Sparrow stuff.
I said this in an earlier review but tonight cemented it, The High Sparrow is the main villain of this show. He isn’t showy and scary like the Night King or cruel and violent like Ramsey Bolton, the two characters most likely to be known as the current main baddies. He is almost mischievous in his villainy. He has, through good natured smiles and honeyed words, defeated the biggest, richest army in the world while shedding a minimum of blood. When Tommen walked out of the Sept I felt Jamie and the Tyrells’ pain. Their once ace in the hole was that they had the king on their side. With him supporting the faith they go from liberators to traitors very quickly. In terms of villainy Game of Thrones plays it both ways. They have the boo hiss villain in Ramsey who can be trotted out every few episodes to do something messed up, and they have the Machiavellian, Frank Underwood, Al Swearagen, slow burn villain who is always scheming and most of the time winning. It also helps that Jonathon Pryce is having the time of his life playing the character and injecting him with so much likability that we can be forgiven for forgetting that it’s a mask.
It’s also good to see some movement with Arya. I think another episode with her stick-fighting Waif and she would have ended up eliciting the same reaction from me as Season 4 Bran did (sighs and leaving the room to make tea). And the final scene sort of came out of nowhere but did get the blood pumping for what’s to come next.
Overall, a good, solid episode. It lacked the fireworks of episode 5 but I think after poor Hodor we just needed something with a bit of humour (Sam stealing the sword was genius), horror (see above re: Tommen), foreshadowing (Bran dreams of the Mad King) and plot (everyone’s going to Riverrun).
Body Count: 0
Nudity Count: 0
Best line: “He can bloody well try.” – Samwell Tarly
Prediction for next week: The breather is over, more fireworks please.
Featured Image: HBO