By James Hancock May 29th, 2016
With only four episodes left to go with season 6 of Game of Thrones, episode 6 ‘Blood of My Blood’ picked up the pace of the show in a big way with a few major twists that will dramatically upset the status quo. I still find it very hard to believe that HBO will manage to wrap up this sprawling saga by the end of Season 7, but it appears as if at least a few of the major chess pieces are finally being positioned on the board for whatever massive conflict will inevitably bring this massive story to a close. As much as I enjoyed the episode, I did have a nagging feeling that some of the events were being rushed, almost as if whole chapters of what GRRM has planned for The Winds of Winter were being casually tossed aside in order to expedite the plot. At this point, it doesn’t really matter.Fans of the show have been very patient, and I’m curious just to see what show runners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have in store for us, even if it differs sharply from the last two books. Assuming GRRM doesn’t keel over and die at his keyboard, book 6 and book 7 from ASoIaF will eventually find their way into our hands and I’m honestly hoping they bare little resemblance to the show making it all the easier to enjoy them on their own merits.
But moving on to episode 6, this was a big one with major events taking place all over the world. The episode picks up from last episode’s cliffhanger with Bran and Meera being pursued by an army of the undead only to be saved by a masked man armed with flaming weapons. They escape in the proverbial nick of time. We cut to events much farther south with Sam and Gilly arriving at his family home hoping to find a place where Gilly can raise her son while Sam studies at the Citadel. Sam’s dad acts like a huge prick prompting Sam to steal their ancestral Valyrian sword and to take Gilly and the baby with him to Oldtown. Across the Narrow Sea in Braavos, we see Arya’s realization that the actress she is supposed to kill is the only decent person in her theater company. Arya abandons her mission and saves the actress’s life. Knowing that she will likely be put to death by her teachers, she retrieves her sword Needle from its hiding place and gets ready to fight to the death against her rival from the Faceless Men. My hope is that this means Arya has finished her training and will be returning to Westeros to play a more active role in the central storyline. I love her individual story arc, but she has been on the margins of the main drama for long enough.
Back in King’s landing we see that Margaery Tyrell has been converted to the cause of the High Sparrow and that she is now seducing Tommen to join them as well. It genuinely hurts my feelings that I might have to start rooting against Margaery. My obsession with actress Natalie Dormer knows no bounds. By the time Jaime Lannister marches a small army of Tyrell forces to prevent Margaery’s walk of atonement, we learn that Margaery and Tommen have completely joined forces with the High Sparrow. Jaime is stripped of his position as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard and then ordered to help lay siege to Riverrun which has been retaken by the Blackfish. We see that the Freys are barely holding onto their position of power and that many families in the area are switching their allegiance to the Blackfish. Cersei assures Jaime that her trial by combat will go fine with the Mountain at her side and then Cersei and Jaime proceed to get it on like the horny incestuous twins that we have come to know and love over the past few seasons. It is amazing watching Cersei become a character that I am actively rooting for now that she is up against the religious zealotry of the Sparrows. The most brilliant aspect of this story has always been that it forces the audience to sympathize with pretty much every character’s point of view no matter how loathsome that character might be, with the only possible exceptions being Joffrey and Ramsay who I think we can all agree are universally despised.
***massive spoiler ahead***
The episode ends with two major scenes. I about starting doing cartwheels in my apartment when I learned that Benjen Stark aka Uncle Benjy is the man who came to Bran’s aid. He explains that he was killed by a White Walker with a sword of ice and left to become one of them but that a Child of the Forest prevented him from changing by inserting Dragonglass into his heart. He is now basically a total badass in the service of the Three-Eyed Raven and he wants to help Bran get ready to fight the Night’s King when he invades the world south of the Wall. The episode draws to a close with a finale that was great but perhaps a little abrupt if we are to be completely honest. Daenerys is riding along with her new army when she suddenly orders them to halt so that she can ride ahead alone. She returns a few moments later, on the back of her dragon Drogon who has grown even larger, and gives an inspirational speech about the upcoming invasion of Westeros. I’m all for seeing Daenerys invade Westeros. I’ve been reading these books since 2009 and watching the show since 2011 and this invasion is something we are all eager to see. That said, the scene felt way too convenient almost as if David Benioff and D. B. Weiss decided to personally intervene on behalf of the fans and just get the story moving again. I won’t complain but from a strict story construction standpoint, it was lazy writing at best. All the same, I’m still having a blast with the show and the preview for episode #7 below has me salivating for next Sunday. Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day holiday and I look forward to geeking out about more GoT next week.
I am one of the Co-Hosts of Wrong Reel.