'Game of Thrones' S6E06 review: Of reunions, returns, Riverrun and royal loyalties
After the gut-wrenching climax of the last episode which made ‘Hold the Door’ trend for days, Game of Thrones gave us a relatively less agonising episode this week with ‘Blood of my Blood’. However, it didn’t let up on the emotional quotient. If anything, the sixth episode showed us actual, happy, hopeful moments, or rather as happy and hopeful Game of Thrones can be. Oh, and there were no *major* character deaths, for once.
Be warned: Spoilers abound
We are halfway through the season and now the pieces are well and truly being tailored to fit the climax– from tying of threads to weaving out the plot ahead. Friends and foes returned as we saw some characters long forgotten (Not Gendry) again and there was plenty of moments that were so high on drama, we didn’t miss the rampant destruction and violence much. Here’s what we know from this episode –
- Daenerys has Drogon back
- Arya has Needle back
- Bran has some family back
- Sam and Gilly are back
- Walder Frey is also back
- Walder Frey has Edmure Tully in captivity
- The High Sparrow has King Tommen
- The Faith Militant has royal support
So let’s dive in –
First things first, STARKS AREN’T DYING, BUT COMING BACK TO LIFE FOR A CHANGE! After years of bereavment, season six gave us not one but two Stark reunions (and there may yet be more to come) This time it is Benjen Stark, Ned’s brother who is back and resurrected, and not a trick of the Night’s Watch. Benjen, who we last saw in the first season go north of the Wall and fall prey to the White Walkers, was brought back to life by the Children of the Forest and he has been working with the Three-Eyed Raven. And while clearly he didn’t think it important to inform Jon Snow or the Watch about this, at least he finally appeared when it mattered.
A Warg-unconscious Bran is being lugged by a despairing Meera through the forest as Wights give chase (after killing Summer, Leaf and Hodor) and while all hope seems lost, a masked Benjen saves the day. His return is both timely, since Bran has lost all the people who could carry him, and exciting, as it all but confirms the fan theory that Benjen Stark is ColdHands, which is sure to make fans of the book series glad. (Another thing that is sure to delight the book readers - Bran’s flashback to mad King Aerys’s death at the hands of Jamie Lannister!) But this reunion is not so loving as he delivers the news flash that Bran is the new Three-Eyed Raven. We wonder how that will pan out, considering the last time Bran attempted to Warg alone, things went really, really bad.
Speaking of Starks saving the day, in Braavos, a girl decided that she does have a name, an honourable one, and she will stand by it. Arya saved the woman she was supposed to kill, found her sword Needle that she was supposed to throw and got ready to give up the life she was supposed to lead. For a girl with a litany of a kill list, Arya showed she is a true Stark, and not just an assassin. But now a girl will have to fight for her life again, but hopefully she will make her way out of Braavos and into the land where she has people to kill with good reason. (Note: Arya is not the only one who seemed to enjoy street play, it was an excellent throwback to the ‘Purple Wedding’.)
Arya isn’t the only one bound overseas. Daenerys Stormborn – the true Targaryen–Khaleesi left on a horse, returned on a dragon, with a pep talk that riled up the Dothrakis to cross the sea making Daario Naharis a very nervous/proud man, and she seems finally ready to set sail. There’s the small matter of obtaining a thousand ships, but incidentally, the Greyjoys, proud owners of the best ships, are also looking for a new destination. Anyone want to bet that these two parties will run into each other soon? Maybe after six seasons of gathering men, wanting to conquer trying to rule, Daenerys will finally reach Westeros.
But things don’t look too rosy in Westeros either. What was supposed to be the big confrontation between the High Sparrow and the army from High Gardens turned out to be a non-affair as Queen Margaery Tyrell seemed to repent. Not only did she decide to atone, she also managed to get the King to join hands with the Faith Militant as the royal couple’s fathers were left staring. With the faith and crown joining hands (and forming a new crest already), things don’t look good for the Lannisters. As we see the carefully cultivated aura of Jaime and Cersei visibly crumble, it is apparent that these will go to any length (which is saying a lot for them) for revenge. For now, Jaime has to go to Riverrun and Cersei has to wait for her Trial by Combat, where she will use the Mountain once again. But the big question is – what happened to the Margaery from the fourth episode who gave her broken brother Loras strength and hope? Is this another elaborate ploy by the Queen? This is the game of thrones after all and nobody does anything without an ulterior motive.
Ulterior motives reminds me – guess who is back? Walder Frey, the chief villain of the Red Wedding. And he is as despicable as ever, as he chastises his son for losing Riverrun to the Brynden ‘Blackfish’ Tully, Catelyn Stark’s uncle. But Frey remembers the Red Wedding very well, and reveals his trump card, the groom of the said wedding – Edmure, the head of House Tully who has been in captivity. With the Freys, Tully, Jaime and Brienne all making their way to Riverrun, it is going to be the central battleground soon enough. With Jaime and Brienne on opposing sides, it will be interesting to see who comes out ahead in this new Stark vs Lannister bout.
We got no glimpse of Jon Snow in this episode, but we had plenty of back story on his best friend Samwell Tarly who was sent along with the Wildling Gilly and her son to go to the Citadel and be a Maester. En route they stop at his ancestral home at Horn Hill and have the worst family dinners since the Lannisters. The strained reunion and paternal insults results in Sam leaving the house in the dead of the night, stealing the family sword Heartsbane. Good news is that it’s Valyrian Steel, so if he is to meet more White Walkers, he has a ready weapon.
While the Sam storyline seemed a little subdued after the action-packed drama of the previous episodes, the highlight was Gilly’s line to Sam after the disastrous dinner.
“I'm angry that horrible people can treat good people that way and get away with it”
Well, isn’t this the crux of Game of Thrones?