Game of Thrones, Season 6, Ep 6 “Blood of My Blood”

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

North of The Wall: Meera flees into the snow, dragging Bran on the sled. Hodor’s sacrifice in the last episode couldn’t keep the horde of undead from chasing them for long, and they’re much faster. Bran is still observing visions, and flashes through several scenes in quick succession. I see him falling from the tower after Jaime Lannister pushed him (back in the very first episode), his father Ned getting beheaded, and a scene which looks like it must be the Mad King in the Sept or Throne Room of King’s Landing, yelling something about “Burn them all!”, and then Jaime killing him. We’ve never seen this before, but it’s been described enough that I think I recognise the scene.

The white walkers are about to surround Meera and Bran, and the end must be near, when suddenly a cloaked man on a horse appears, brandishing a chained weapon with a wicked hook and a brazier of fire and not coals. He swings and sets fire to several of the undead, fending them off, as he pulls Meera and Bran onto his horse, before riding off into the forest.

In a place of relative safety, the rider lets them off, and Bran, now awake from his visions, asks who he is. The rider removes his cloak… it’s Benjen! Ned’s brother and Bran’s uncle, formerly of the Night’s Watch at Castle Black, who we’d been told was killed north of the Wall. Turned out he’s not as dead as we thought. He says the dryads saved him from being turned into a white walker. He also tells Bran that he – Bran – has to become the next Three-eyed Raven.(!)

Okay, what does that mean? Does Bran have to sit in a tree for the rest of his life, unable to move, like the previous Raven? Where is Benjen going to take them? Bran has lost Jojen and now Hodor as traveling companions. Meera wasn’t up to pulling Bran on his sled very far, so now they have a new companion who can take them further and faster. Bran’s position is nowhere near as perilous now as it seemed at the end of the previous episode, which is good.

Horn Hill: Sam and Gilly approach Horn Hill in a covered carriage, with an escort of horsemen. This is a little surprising. I thought Sam would have just ridden into the town with Gilly, unaccompanied, and gone to the house where his parents live. But then as they approach we see that Horn Hill is not a simple farming town, but a huge fortified manor on a hill (okay, I suppose the clue was in the name). It turns out Sam is from a noble family, not a simple farmer’s son as I’d assumed all along. Sam warns Gilly not to let on that she’s a wildling, because his father hates wildlings. And to pretend that young Sam is his son, because Sam’s father won’t reject his own grandson, but would reject an unrelated child.

They are escorted into the castle, and meet Sam’s mother and sister. It reminds me a lot of Padmé taking Anakin home to Naboo to meet her parents in Attack of the Clones. Sam’s mother and sister are delighted to meet Gilly, and Sam introduces young Sam as his own son, to the delight of his mother. Interestingly, Sam never says that he and Gilly are married. Also, it’s odd that nobody in the whole time they’re here mentions the fact that members of the Night’s Watch are sworn to celibacy, so it’s a bit odd that Sam has come home with a girlfriend and a baby. Sam’s sister offers to take Gilly away for a bath to wash away the grime of travel, and to lend her one of her dresses.

After cleaning up, Gilly totters through the courtyard to find Sam, complaining how hard it is to walk in the posh dress. Sam thinks she looks lovely, and leads her in to dinner, where we meet his father for the first time. In the great tradition of noble fathers everywhere (think Walder Frey, Balon Greyjoy, Roose Bolton), Sam’s dad is unimpressed with his son. He calls him fat and lazy. Sam says he’s been ordered by the Lord Commander to attend the Maester’s school on Old Town to become the new Maester of Castle Black, a position of great honour. His dad sneers and says he sent him away to the Night’s Watch to learn how to fight and become a man, not read books. He points at a great sword hanging over the fireplace, saying it’s the family heirloom, made of Valyrian steel, and he’d hoped to pass it on to his first born son, but now Sam will never get his hands on it. Sam’s younger brother mentions hunting deer, and Sam’s dad assumes Sam is too pathetic to hunt, but Sam says he often hunts on patrol north of the Wall – they have to or they’ll starve. His dad asks if he hunts deer, or elk? Sam says rabbits. Sam’s dad sneers again, saying he’ll never be any good in a fight. This is too much for Gilly, who says that Sam has killed a Thenn, and also a White Walker. Sam’s dad asks how she knows, and Gilly says she saw it herself.

Uh oh. Sam’s dad narrows his eyes and asks where she saw this. Gilly says north of the Wall… San’s dad explodes, saying Gilly is a wildling, and how he used to wage war on the wildlings, and now there’s one of the scum under his roof! Sam’s mother and sister hurriedly usher Gilly away, apologising for the lord’s behaviour to her. Sam’s dad tells Sam that his grandson can stay at Horn Hill under his care, and even Gilly as the mother of the baby, but Sam is to leave and never return.

Later, Sam goes to tell Gilly the bad news. He says she and young Sam will be safe there, and he will go off to become a Maester. Gilly is upset, but doesn’t argue. Sam leaves, closing the door on Gilly. A few seconds pass as she turns to cry. But then the door opens again and Sam reappears. “No, you’re coming with me, grab your things!” Gilly bundles up little Sam and they head out quietly. On the way through the dining hall, Sam grabs the Valyrian sword from the mantelpiece.

Nice work, Sam! This whole sequence was fascinating, as it reveals a lot about Sam’s past and background which had never been mentioned before. It shows how his manner comes from being berated by his father, and it shows development in that although he couldn’t stand up to his father face to face, he’s defiant and has turned a corner in stealing the family sword. Sam is now able to stand up for himself.

The Twins: Walder Frey is upset that Riverrun has been lost to Cat’s uncle, the Blackfish. In an echo of Sam’s dad, he yells at his sons for incompetence in losing the castle. They say they were outnumbered and it was impossible to hold, but he scoffs, and orders them to take it back. They say it can’t be done with the inferior forces they have. But Walder has a secret weapon. He orders one of his prisoners to be brought before him… It’s Edmure Tully, Cat’s brother!

Wait, what?? The last we saw of Edmure was at his wedding to Walder Frey’s daughter, the infamous red wedding which erupted into the ambush that killed Robb Stark, his wife, their unborn baby, and Cat. Edmure had been carried bodily away to the supposed bedding ceremony with his new wife, and I’d basically assumed he’d been killed there too. It would have been the sensible thing to do (if one was Walder Frey). But no! It seems Walder had him thrown in a dungeon cell, to be brought out at a time like this, when he needs leverage against the Tullys!

Well, well. Two previously assumed dead people have returned in the one episode. What’s more, Edmure is also Bran’s (and the other Stark children’s) uncle! So that’s two assumed-dead uncles returning in the same episode. Interesting parallel. And there’s more to come…

Braavos: Arya watches the performance of the actors in the play, re-enacting the events of Joffrey’s wedding and death. During the play, she sneaks backstage and adds the poison to Lady Crane’s personal bottle of drink, then sneaks away again. But the actors have finished and are coming backstage. Lady Crane asks Arya what she’s doing back there… then assumes she’s a fan and starts talking to her, about how she loved watching performers when she was young, and ran away to join an acting troupe, and has never looked back. Arya takes her leave, saying her father will be looking for her (an interesting deception, given her father’s fate).

Lady Crane pours herself a drink… and is about to drink it… when Arya returns and knocks the glass from her hand. Arya points at the understudy who took out the contract on her life, and says, “Watch out for that one.” Arya then leaves. The camera pans, and we see the older girl from the House of Black and White, watching the scene. She goes back to report to Jaqen that Arya has failed in her mission. Jaqen sighs and looks disappointed. The older girl asks, “Can I do it?” Jaqen says yes, “but make it painless.” The older girl turns away with a sadistic look on her face.

Arya, meanwhile, returns to the hole in the sea wall where she hid Needle many episodes ago (rather than throw it into the sea as instructed), and retrieves her sword. She goes to her room, blows out the candle, and waits in the pitch darkness.

Okay, I’m guessing the older girl will try to attack Arya during the night, and Arya is aware of this and ready for it, with a weapon that the older girl doesn’t know she has. It seems Arya has the upper hand. Not only with Needle, but because she’s going to be fighting in the dark – and Arya has had all that practice fighting while blind earlier! Things should go fairly smoothy for Arya, defeating the older girl, and then slipping away into the night to pursue her own agenda. Let’s hope they do. The older girl is really annoying, so smug and superior and she’s always seemed to hate Arya for no good reason. I really hope she gets her come-uppance.

And recovering Needle. That’s two significant swords grabbed by main characters in this episode. Another neat parallel.

King’s Landing: Tommen goes to see the High Sparrow, who, surprisingly, lets him go see Margaery. He is relieved to see her, and starts saying stuff about how he’s going to get her free and so on, but Margaery appears to have been broken, and says simply that she deserves her punishment for her sins. Either the High Sparrow has got to her, or she’s playing some sort of weird mind games. At first I don’t believe she’s really repentant or accepting of her fate, but the longer this goes on, the more she seems sincere. It’s weird – this doesn’t feel like Margaery at all.

Not only that, but when Jaime shows up leading Mace Tyrell and the Tyrell forces to the Sept, prepared to attack and force the Sparrow to stand down and release Margaery and Loras, the High Sparrow says there’ll be no need fo rany of that. He’s talked to Tommen and they have agreed to reunite the crown and the faith, and Tommen and Margaery will now be free to go. Tommen walks forward with Margaery hand in hand, and announces that he now supports the Faith. The crowd of people who came to watch a battle cheer. Mace Tyrell is confused and asks Olenna what this means, She sneers and says, “It means he’s won.” The High Sparrow gives another incredibly annoying smirk of smugness.

He has won indeed. It seems not only has Margaery turned, but this has also convinced Tommen to turn in favour of the Faith as well. Tommen summons Jaime and dismisses him from the King’s Guard, and orders him to go to Riverrun and eject the Tullys from the castle there. Jaime fumes, unable to do anything else. He goes to talk to Cersei and complains that the Sparrow now has his claws in Tommen, and is no doubt behind this move to get him out of King’s Landing. Jaime wants to go attack the Sept, but Cersei tells him, no, do as your told, and we’ll bide our time, but don’t worry, the Sparrow will get what’s coming to him.

Well, let’s hope so. This is a turn for the worse, no doubt. In the bigger picture, the Sparrow’s influence leaves King’s Landing weaker, and perhaps prime for being taken over by an invading force. And who might that invading force be….

Dothraki lands: Daenerys is leading her new horde of Dothraki towards Meereen. She asks Daario how far it is, and he says several days ride. She asks how many ships do you think we’ll need to get the army across the Narrow Sea? He estimates at least a thousand – interestingly aligning with Euron Greyjoy’s order to his people on the Iron Islands to build a thousand ships, last episode.

Suddenly, Daenerys orders the army to halt while she rides on ahead, out of sight in the hills. They do so, waiting for a several minutes and beginning to get restless. Daario is about to rid after her, when suddenly the shadow of Drogon crosses the valley, and the great dragon flies around and lands in front of the army, with Daenerys on his back. Daenerys shouts out a speech, declaring that she will honour Khal Drogo’s promise to cross the sea and conquer Westeros by doing it herself, and who will follow her? The army shouts approvingly. She says that instead of declaring the traditional three Blood Riders to be her elite warriors, she declares every Dothraki warrior to be her Blood Rider! They shout even more approval. She says let’s go conquer the world! And the army roars in agreement.

Nice. She’s got them well and truly worked up now. The question is whether she will march them all to Meereen, or just head off somewhere else next. I presume she’ll go to Meereen, as it’s the most sensible location to start building ships. And she has the Dothraki to enforce her control over Astapor and Yunkai too now, and get all the cities of Slavers Bay building ships for her. Oh yeah… this is going to be good.

One Response to “Game of Thrones, Season 6, Ep 6 “Blood of My Blood””

  1. Glen says:

    When I watched this episode I didn’t have the impression Margaery was broken by the High Sparrow; she’s shown herself to be intelligent and able to play the game she needs to play in difficult circumstances. To get out, she believes she needs to be convincingly repentant – and knows better than to try to get Tommen to act the part (certainly not in the very short period of time they’ll have together in that scebe); he needs to be convincing and that’s going to work best if he really believes it.

Leave a Reply