Game of Thrones, Season 6, Episode 6: “Blood of My Blood”
North of the Wall
North of the Wall, Meera struggles with dragging a warged Bran. He binge watches history unfold and wakes up to warn Meera that the Wights are upon them. Too late, of course. But lo and behold, a hooded figure kills them all. This is a good thing because Meera does not fight them but covers Bran like that will help. This is not in her character at all, but okay. Let’s let the man take all the credit after you’ve killed a White Walker. Okay.
The hooded figure reveals that the Three-Eyed Raven (who is now Bran) called to him, and begins to talk about the last time he saw Bran scaling the castle walls much to his mother’s dismay. He unwraps his face to show Bran that he is his uncle Benjen Stark, the lost Ranger. His face is partly zombiefied, but his eyes remains brown. After a ranger party sought out White Walkers, the Walkers found them and stabbed him, leaving them to die. The Children of the Forest found him and stopped the Walkers’ magic from turning him by shoving a dragonglass blade into his heart, the same as how the White Walkers were created. Benjen assures Bran that he will master his powers and be ready for the Night King when he makes his way to the world of Men. Interestingly, Benjen takes on the role of the book’s Cold Hands, which could still be the same character, but it explains why Cold Hands was even present in the book and what was so striking about him.
After an in-depth discussion of how green it is south of the Riverlands (which I totally would have been on board with), Sam and Gilly arrive at Sam’s home. Sam had warned her of his father’s hatred towards Wildlings. Sam’s mother Melessa and sister Talla happily greet Sam, Gilly, and Sam Jr. Gilly tries her best at court courtesies, and it’s brilliant. Gilly has probably never seen such kindness towards her or her son.
Gilly fits herself in Talla’s gold and black dress and walks out like a woman who just tried on heels for the first time. Sam’s father Randyll eyes him the entire dinner while Gilly tries to figure out how to use silverware. Sam reveals that Gilly is a good hunter, and Melessa assumes it’s common where she’s from. Talla adds that she’d wished her father had taught her to hunt. Randyll believed the Night’s Watch would have made a man of Sam, but he stayed soft. This whole dinner was about gender role (and fat shaming Sam) and how both Sam and Gilly defied those roles. Melessa supports her son by saying that being a maester of the Night’s Watch is an honor. Gilly feeds off Randyll’s contempt for his son. He is a good swordsman; he’s slain a Thenn (which may not mean anything to a Tarly, but they’re the most ferocious and disgusting of Wildings) and a White Walker (which none of the Tarlys believe exist). Gilly reveals that she’s a Wildling through the story, stating that “he’s a greater warrior than either of you will ever be.” Rather focusing on the fact that Sam killed a White Walker, Randyll is more intent on finding out where Gilly is from. She just became on par with the likes of the rest of the women this season. Gilly is standing up to tradition and patriarchy after being trod on for so long. Randyll is having none of it, hosting a Wildling after so many centuries of fighting them. He points out Heartsbane, one of the last Valyrian steel swords, and, though the firstborn son, Sam will never possess it. It’s a testament to Melessa and Talla that they defy Randyll, Melessa declaring that she’s lost her appetite. Clearly there is a difference between the married couple’s beliefs. And it shows that the women of the family are more receptive towards outsiders, or let’s call them refugees. (There are a lot of similarities among U.S. politics and what’s happening in Game of Thrones.) Because that’s exactly what the Wildlings are at this point: refugees. While Sam says nothing to Randyll, it’s the women who speak up, particularly Gilly and Melessa. Once the women have gone, Randyll announces that he’d take Gilly on as a kitchen wench, and Sam Jr will be educated at Horn Hill.
Later, Sam apologizes to Gilly for not defending her because he wanted his father to take them in, but she says: “I’m not angry with you. I’m angry that horrible people can treat good people that way and get away with it.” She becomes the audience voice here because that is happening not just her at Horn Hill but everywhere in Westeros and Essos. He bids them farewell but returns to take them with him because he vowed that they’d never be apart. He takes Heartsbane and leaves with his family. He takes what’s rightfully his, which he may need. In a moment of defiance, Sam spouts that his father than “blood well try” to take the sword from him. As if Sam wasn’t going to be important enough, he’s gone and got himself one of the few weapons that can kill White Walkers, a Valyrian Steel sword. At least three (questionably four with Petyr Baelish and his dagger that started the Game of Thrones) of the main characters dedicated to the North’s cause have Valyrian Steel: Samwell Tarly, Brienne of Tarth, and Jon Snow.
The High Sparrow informs King Tommen of Margaery’s safety during her walk of shame. He says she’s always been an advocate of the poor, and he adds that she’s now an advocate of the gods. He then offers Tommen the chance to see her. And she is clearly playing her cards, knowing her battle is lost if she fights the Faith Militant. If she submits to them, then she’ll be let off easily and will survive. She will then be in a better position to get her brother free. In addition, she’ll have the Faith Militant power at her disposal. So she persuades Tommen to see the ways of the Faith Militant. Margaery spills words that are two-toned, which makes us as watchers believe that she has an ulterior motive. She continues to tell Tommen that she’s lived a lie and spouts words that the High Sparrow advised her or Septa Unella beat into her.
Mace Tyrell, hilariously looking like a rooster and proud of it, enters King’s Landing with a swagger and an army of Tyrells. When he meets up with Jaime, he decides to give a speech to his troops to show off, to which none of the soldiers cheers, like in most scenes they might. As the High Sparrow begins his spiel on the steps of the sept with Margaery and Septa Unella beside her, the Tyrell army descends upon them with a perfectly timed Lady Olenna arriving in her carriage and stepping out with a fan to watch the ensuing catastrophe unfold. Margaery is taken back by what her family has done, presumably because she didn’t think anyone was going to fight for her. The High Sparrow knows who to address: Jaime. Jaime demands the Faith Militant surrender the Tyrells to them. The High Sparrow declares that neither Jaime nor he has the authority to take them. Gasps are abound, and Jaime ascends the stairs and claims to speak for King Tommen, a name which has no power here. Jaime vows to kill every Faith Militant before Margaery walks down the stairs, Margaery hiding a grin. The High Sparrow announces that there will be no walk of atonement, and Margaery now looks forlorn but holds her head high. Olenna’s look of sheer dismay is brilliant. Margaery has already atoned it seems by turning someone else into the Light of the Seven: King Tommen. The High Sparrow announces “A new age of harmony, a holy alliance between the Crown and the Faith.” Now, everyone is cheering. The Baratheon-Lannister family is renouncing their wicked ways to submit to a faith-driven one. While Tommen drones on about faith with conviction, Margaery looks Jaime in the eye with a great sadness. Her own plans have ruined Jaime and her own family. She had not known of their plans and devised her own. Tommen’s words are a combination of the High Sparrow and his mother’s. Could Cersei have helped devise this plan to get rid of the Tyrells from King’s Landing for good with only Margaery and the High Sparrow in her way now?
Before the throne, Jaime takes off his armor. “When you attack the Faith, you attack the Crown,” Tommen explains. As such, Jaime is “unfit” to serve as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Jaime protests that he’s been a member of the Kingsguard since before he was born. Tommen looks like he’s about to cry and that what he’s doing is incredibly stupid. Jaime pleads, “You don’t have to do this; you don’t have to do anything.” Jaime has been trying to appeal Tommen’s sense of self and tries to be a father to him. Here, he fails, as Tommen blankly says that he must answer to the gods. But Jaime insists that he doesn’t have to when he’s sitting on the throne. “The Crown’s decision is final,” he musters up the courage to say. And the Crown’s decision is to send Jaime to Riverrun to deal with Blackfish’s rebellion against the Freys.
Jaime retires to Cersei’s quarters in the Red Keep and complains about having to go to Riverrun to solve Walder Frey’s problems. Cersei, calm and collected, says that fate is better than in the sept dungeons. Jaime refuses to leave; he wants to behead the High Sparrow. No. Cersei wants him to be the face of the Lannisters, leading their army, to show the world what they will do to their enemies. He also wants to stay so he doesn’t leave Cersei to deal with her trial alone. She assures him she’ll be fine; it’s a trial by combat, and she’s got the hulked-out Mountain to defend her. All this talk of the two of them taking the world by storm with their revenge gets them all hot and bothered, and sexy times ensue.
Arya watches the play once more. She laughs at the parts where the Lannisters suffer, while everyone else in the audience sighs with sorrow, especially when Joffrey dies. In a more in-depth look at what happened last week, we see that the general public outside of King’s Landing doesn’t see events unfolding as they actually did. They definitely sympathize with Cersei and Joffrey. How much effect does the Throne have? Does it really matter now, let alone when the White Walkers descend upon them? However, a continuation of what I suspected last week, Arya feels sympathy for Cersei. She is a mother who sorely grieved her son. That’s how good the actress, Lady Crane, is in convincing Arya of another viewpoint, which says so much about the arts. This leads Arya to save Lady Crane after poisoning her rum and warns Lady Crane that the actress playing Sansa wants her dead. Whether it’s because she bonded with the actress, who suggested Arya become an actress, or she began to feel sympathy towards others. She lost her father and was filled with rage, creating a list of people to murder for it. Likewise, Cersei sought vengeance on those who have killed her husband (presumably) and children. This is the advice Arya gives her on the part. Cersei would not feel sorrow; she would be angry. Arya can’t in good conscience kill someone who doesn’t deserve it. Waif sees all this unfold and reports it to Jaqen (grossly and exactly defacing a dead body), who agrees to Arya murder. Meanwhile Arya digs up her sword Needle from a pile of rocks. She never gave up her identity, which is frustrating because she went through all this pointless training and nothingness to go back to where she was. Yes, maybe she became a better warrior through it, and maybe she found herself through this journey. But there was so much dilly-ally that it felt fruitless. We’ll see how the story progresses for here ad she defends herself with Needle during her sleep from Waif, who is dead-set on killing Arya. She does not relinquish her blood. She has much more fighting to do and justice to dole out. She’s reserving the right to kill people for those who truly deserve it.
The ever-disgusting Walder Frey is disappointed in Lothar Frey (who killed Rob) and Walder Rivers (who killed Cat), who have failed to keep Riverrun from Blackfish after failing to kill Blackfish. He orders them to take Riverrun back, but one of the soldiers reports that they don’t have the men to do so. Walder insists they have ten times as many men as Blackfish. But it turns out they don’t. Houses have turned to support the Tullys, and Frey commoners have rallied under the Brotherhood without Banners (one of the more important points that might make a book-reading watcher suspect that Lady Stoneheart will finally appear at the end of this season or next, but I suspect it will be Arya who takes up that mantle). Walder is either forgetful or just doesn’t care what goes on outside his dreadfully dank castle. All he cares about is collecting wives that have just gotten their first period and feeding his horde of children. The soldiers insist that Blackfish will never yield, but Walder declares otherwise when he presents a shackled and bedraggled Edmure Tully. Poor Edmure, too vapid to be anything substantial, outstaged as a recognized leader by his niece and no war hero like his brother. He was never anything more than a pawn between the Freys and the Tullys. Will Blackfish take Frey’s bait, call a bluff, or not care. I suspect GRRM might take this story after Black Agnes of Dunbar, who held off forces for months, then presented with a threat to kill her younger brother, which held no sway. She claimed lairdship over Dunbar anyway, so she said to go ahead and kill him. Blackfish may do the same.
The Path to Mereen
We can’t forget to include Daenerys ever, so they have to tag on a last bit for her to be a drama mama. While riding through a ridge, Dany halts the caravan of Dothraki and feels something ahead. She wonders how many ships it would take to get to Westeros, and Daario figures a thousand. Nobody has those ships yet, though. (They’re on their way, Dany!) Daario notes that she wasn’t made to rule; she was made to conquer. And she means to conquer the world. She looks ahead and goes off by herself, disappearing through the ridge. As the horses get restless, Daario finds this to be too long and begins to take off to find her. As he does, Daenerys flies overhead on Drogon to show her might and her dragon. She lands and delivers her speech from Drogon’s back. She explains that traditionally khals chose three bloodriders to protect them, but she upends tradition as a khaleesi without a khal and names the entire flock of Dothraki (“khalassar”) her bloodriders. Brilliantly, she is buttering them up to make them all special and for them to willingly and excitingly take Westeros with her, another first for the Dothraki people. She uses the culture of the Dothraki and presents it as the exact opposite of Westerosi people. Amongst cheering howls, Drogon screeches. It’s a far better reaction to a war speech than what Mace Tyrell gets in silence. This is exactly what Daenerys is brilliant at: inspiring and leading others into conquering. Historically, these empires have a notable reign but ultimately fail because the empire becomes too vast and uncontrollable. Rome could never keep the British Isles in check. Alexander the Great’s empire imploded. Arguably, Great Britain is not as great as it once claimed. Palmyra was expanding under Bat Zabbai’s rule before she took on the power of Rome. Countless other empires throughout history and ones that have never been documented or have been lost are testament to such events. So what makes Dany different? What makes her less a zealous dictating tyrant and more a fair and just queen who only seeks what was promised to her? She has a support system in play that can politically maneuver and hold down her conquered cities. Tyrion, Varys, Missandei, and Grey Worm along with the new addition Kinvara. Will they remain in charge of Mereen, or will any sail to Westeros with her?
Blood of My Blood
Absolutely this episode is all about family, as it is entitled “Blood of My Blood.” We see into Sam’s family relations and how Gilly and Sam Jr are his family now. When previously all he wanted was to please his father; he realizes it’s his father who should be wanting to please him. He is, after all, a hero, as Gilly calls out. Bran is reunited with his uncle Benjen. The Lannisters are pitted against one another. Margaery has inadvertently betrayed and demonized her own family to raise herself and her brother out of misery and shame. But has she shot herself in the foot like Cersei did? Has Tyrion done the same in striking a deal with a genocidal priestess? Walder Frey doesn’t care for the well-being of his own family; they’re all replaceable; he just wants power over the Tullys. But Blackfish will be presented with a problem: keep Riverrun or submit it to Jaime Lannister and the Freys to save his brother. And can he spare troops to follow Brienne to the North to aid his blood Sansa? Will Jaime realize that he’s fighting a pointless war down in Riverrun when it should be North? He has a Valyrian Steel sword, after all. Arya refuses to relinquish her name and her spirit to the Many-Faced God. Daenerys reunites with her favorite child Drogon and unifies her khalassar as a devoted family under a new rule. We are about to see more reunions that we’ve been waiting for: Brienne and Jaime, possibly Brienne and Arya, Arya and Nymeria, potentially Brienne and another person with whom she was close, Blackfish and Edmure, and Daenerys and the rest of her family of dragons.
Who is winning the game of thrones?
As of this episode, who is winning the game of thrones?
© 2016 SE Andres