Game of Thrones Recap Season 6 Episode 6: Blood of My Blood
Beyond the Wall
Meera hauls a still-Warged Bran through the snow. Bran's visions include: the Mad King Aerys in his final moments; Ned's beheading; the Tower of Joy; Bran falling; the Night's King; a White Walker conversion of Craster's sacrifice; Dany and her Dragons; ravens; Hardhome; wildfyre; the Red Wedding; and a very bloody hand (more on this later). He returns to the present just as it appears they will be overtaken by the pursuing wights. A mounted man arrives and rescues them, wielding a flaming flail.
The stranger reveals himself to be Benjen Stark, sent by the Three-Eyed Raven to help. He was attacked by White Walkers while ranging, but before he could be turned the Children of the Forest stopped the magic's progression with a shard of dragonglass to the heart. He has Bran drink rabbit's blood, and tells him he is the new Three-Eyed Raven. Bran must be ready when the White Walkers launch their attack on the realms of men.
Sam and Gilly arrive to a warm welcome from Sam's mother and sister. An extremely uncomfortable family dinner ensues. When Lord Randyll Tarly learns Gilly is a Wildling, he is incensed; he insults them both and orders Sam to leave as soon as possible. Sam steals away that night with Gilly, the baby, and the family's Valyrian Steel sword, Heartsbane.
Tommen meets with the High Sparrow to help Margaery avoid the Walk of Atonement. He allows Tommen to see her. Margaery is newly religious, preaching the wisdom of the High Sparrow and insisting her and Loras need to atone for their sins.
Mace leads the Tyrell army into King's Landing to prevent the Walk of Atonement. Jaime outlines their terms, and violence seems imminent. The High Sparrow declares no atonement necessary, as Margaery has brought Tommen into the light, solidifying the alliance between the Crown and the Faith. Tommen forces Jaime to resign his position on the Kingsguard and sends him to Riverrun.
Jaime wants to stay in King's Landing, but Cersei encourages him to take command of the Lannister army and subdue Riverrun before moving on to more important matters.
Arya watches Lady Crane's play before sneaking into the dressing room to poison her rum. As she leaves, Lady Crane speaks with her warmly. Before Lady Crane consumes the poison, Arya knocks the drink from her hand and casts suspicion on the younger actress in the troupe. Her rival from the House of Black and White observes and reports back to Jaqen, who is busy harvesting another face for their collection. He grants her permission to kill Arya, who has retrieved Needle from its hiding place.
Lord Frey emasculates two of his offspring for losing Riverrun to the Blackfish, who escaped the Red Wedding. He commands them to re-take the castle despite resurgent Tully allies including the Mallisters, the Blackwoods, and the Brotherhood without Banners. They'll use the Blackfish's imprisoned nephew, Edmure Tully, as leverage.
Dany leads the Dothraki through a gorge, and orders a halt while she rides ahead. She reappears on Drogon's back and delivers a rallying speech, securing their agreement to board ships and cross the Narrow Sea to Westeros.
This episode felt slow compared to the breakneck pace set by the first half of the season. The reappearance of long-lost Benjen Stark felt momentous, but they have a long journey to reach the relative safety of The Wall, where I'm sure Edd will be thrilled to see a ranger-turned-half-White-Walker, a paraplegic Lord, and a crannog(wo)man. Benjen's comfort with the Three-Eyed Raven, its abilities, and its transference to Bran is noteworthy. We don't know what, if anything, Bran's mentor did with his abilities. I don't know if there's any meaning to the scenes viewed through Bran's Greensight, but the final acts of the Mad King Aerys are prominently featured in these visions. He repeatedly says "burn them all", which we thought meant the people of King's Landing and the Lannister army outside its gates. The way it is juxtaposed with visions of White Walkers, however, might suggest the Three-Eyed Raven was tampering to encourage King Aerys to stockpile Wildfyre for the larger war to come. The Mad King's deteriorating condition was common knowledge long before these events, and attributed to his extended captivity during the Defiance of Duskendale. Perhaps the Three-Eyed Raven felt there was little risk tampering with a mind already so far gone. The Targaryens have a history of dementia predating Aerys; was the Three-Eyed Raven attempting to prepare mankind for another Long Night?
One other thought: right after young Ned Stark says "where's my sister?" we see a hand over a woman with a bloody gash in her midsection:
Could this be Lyanna? The bracer on this hand looks very similar to the one Ned wears in the earlier Tower of Joy scene:
If you aren't familiar with theories surrounding the Tower of Joy, this could be interesting.
Sam's dad is total dick, even by the standards of Westeros. I don't think Sam's plan to take Heartsbane and escape to Oldtown will go smoothly, but it is a very short trip. Once there, he'll need to elude Lord Tarly's search; Valyrian Steel swords are extremely valuable and he's threatened to kill Sam just for being fat and bookish.
King's Landing became more confusing this week. I don't buy Margaery finding religion, but Tommen seems genuinely enthralled by the High Sparrow. If that's the case, Margaery has to slowly pull him back from the Faith's influence while maintaining an image of devotion. And what about Loras? He's still imprisoned, leaving the Faith a valuable Tyrell hostage. Cersei still has to face a Trial by Combat, which I'm excited to see, but the weak Lannister-Tyrell coalition needs to maneuver carefully to gain the upper hand. Both houses need King Tommen to be more loyal to family than Faith.
Arya seems set to leave Braavos, but where does she stand in her progression as an assassin? She experienced being blind, learned about poisons, and received a montage, but she's consistently beaten by her rival and she isn't sailing away with a bag full of faces to disguise herself with. After all this time, will she return to Westeros a little older and a little sneakier but otherwise unchanged? I think she needs to obtain something more valuable before leaving Braavos for good, whether it be an item, a skill, or information.
I enjoyed watching Lord Frey sweat in his own castle, and he may be drastically underestimating the Blackfish and Riverrun.
He holds a valuable hostage, but without the full support of the Lannisters (i.e. Jaime arriving with his army) the Freys will have trouble with the combined forces of the Tullys and their allies. Turns out hosting events like the Red Wedding don't do your reputation much good, unless of course you're Ramsay Bolton. Then you can gain a reputation for hunting and flaying humans for sport and have your father, step-mother, and step-brother disappear simultaneously without losing supporters.
I didn't find Dany's speech particularly inspiring, but I was focused on the return of Drogon. It looks like he's been eating well, whatever else he's been doing while his Mother was captured and effectively stood trial at Vaes Dothrak. Dany won big by convincing the Dothraki to sail anywhere; now she just needs a thousand ships. I hope someone out there is trying to build a thousand ships right now. Does King Euron offer expedited shipping?
I know I've vented at length about what happened in Dorne at the beginning of the season, but Ellaria looks like a huge hypocrite. Doran's inaction was a main reason for her violent coup, and Dorne hasn't done a damn thing under her leadership.
House Power Rankings
- House Targaryen - Back on Drogon's back, and with the strength of the Dothraki horde behind her, Dany is close to consolidating her forces in Meereen. She'll soon have an army much larger than any House in Westeros, plus three dragons.
- House Tyrell - Mace made an ass of himself, but Margaery is free. They have their two top schemers again, and maybe the largest army in Westeros.
- House Bolton - This ranking depends heavily on Ramsay having the support of the Karstarks and the Umbers, which I remain unconvinced of. If he does, he has a strong grip on the North; if not, he's a sitting (ninja) duck surrounded by enemies.
- House Greyjoy - Depending on how many ships Yara and Theon managed to steal away, Euron could already be dangerous. No one else has been paying attention to naval power. In any case, it will take a long time for him to amass the ships he needs to transport Dany's troops.
- House Stark - Benjen still being alive: good. Jon and Sansa slowly rallying smaller houses: not bad. Bran losing his teacher, Arya targeted by the Faceless Men, Rickon imprsioned: very bad.