Film and TV

Game of Thrones: Blood of My Blood

by on 31/05/2016
 

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Further Warning: This review has been identified to potentially trigger rage in people with ‘All Caps and Exclamation Mark Sensitivity’. Reader discretion advised.

What a week! After watching last week’s episode Game of Thrones: The Door, I’ve been constantly triggered by doors, lifts, doorstops, holding doors and large beards. All due to that final scene. Say it with me now: “HOLD THE DOOR! HODODOOR! HODOR!”

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I’m not crying, YOU’RE CRYING!

I’m so glad that it wasn’t my turn to review the show last week, because there are only so many crying gifs I could post in one article without pissing all of our readers off. Hani did a great job of getting through it though, and I loved her review. Now it’s my turn to brave the show this week, so my fingers and toes are crossed that no more of my favs die because seriously, I’m not sure I can handle it.

This week’s episode opens where the last one left off, Bran is still dream-downloading important information from the Weirwood network as Meera does her best to drag him to safety. Hodor and Summer’s sacrifices seem to have bought them some time, but not enough as they are quickly tracked by a number of wights.

As Meera’s efforts give way to exhaustion, Bran sees flashes of vision after vision of his mother, father and brother Robb’s deaths. He sees the Whitewalkers when they attacked at Hardhome and also what they do with the babies from Craster’s Keep. He flashes through visions of recent and distant past at Kings Landing and at the Tower of Joy. From all of these rapid scenes though, there were two in particular that held the most interest for me.

First we see The Mad King Aerys being murdered by Jaime Lannister in the throne room.

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Enter the Kingslayer

We know from previous seasons that Jaime murdered the king to stop him from raising Kings Landing to the ground, saving thousands of lives in the process. But seeing him sat on the throne afterwards with the dead King at his feet, in addition to the other scenes of pyromancers making wildfyre, feels as though we’re seeing some serious foreshadowing here. The visions are like pieces of a puzzle coming together but we don’t have a view of the full picture yet.

Second, there’s also a very brief flash of important information slipped in between the others. It’s hardly a second long, a bloody hand over a wound that could be something or nothing. But on closer inspection, it seems that though it’s Ned’s hand and potentially his sister’s wound. We know from earlier this season that Ned was about to rescue Lyanna after he and Howland Reed defeated the Kingsguard, but is this what he finds in the tower? And if so, why is she fatally wounded? Did someone do this to her or did she do it herself? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

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I NEED TO KNOW!

Once the visions reach their end, Bran finally awakes with an ominous “they’ve found us” as the wights close in on them causing Meera to draw her blade in a brave, but surely futile attempt to fight them off. Fortunately for our heroes though, Season 6 of Game of Thrones is not fucking around. So we get a cloaked figure wielding a fiery flail, riding in to save them in a moment where I literally stood up and shouted at my screen.

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COOOLLLDHANNNDSSSSSSSSSS!

For those who haven’t read the books, this was a character that helped Bran, Meera and Jojen reach Bloodraven when they first went north of The Wall. The show has skipped over Coldhands entirely so far, so seeing him in this episode is a pretty big revelation for book fans. But then Season 6 has been full of big scenes that confirm theories that have been discussed for years, the plot is finally and decidedly starting to move towards it’s end. Whether or not the books will follow the same trajectories as the show, now that it’s passed events in A Dance With Dragons, we will have to wait and see. It is definitely making for some excellent viewing though.

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Is anyone else seriously impressed by Sam’s dad’s house?!

Next we travel to Horn Hill with Sam, Gilly and baby Sam to meet the Fockers Tarlys so that Sam can leave them with his family whilst he goes off to Oldtown to begin his training as a Maester. During the final stretch of their journey, Sam warns Gilly not to mention that she’s a Wildling as his father hates them, which of course will be revealed in order to set up events for the best awkward meal in television (or at least the second) later in the episode.

At Kings Landing we’re back to playing The Game of Thrones. Lannister, Tyrell and the Faith Militant are the major players this season as they manoeuvre against one another. I’m on team Tyrell (as it has the best characters), and my girl Margaery is definitely in top form as she convinces the High Sparrow that she’s devoted completely to the Faith and manipulates Tommen into joining her. The High Sparrow has been laying the groundwork with Tommen since the beginning of the season but Margaery’s nudge sets events properly in motion.

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Come to the dark Faith side Tommen. We don’t wear shoes. It’s great.

I know that some people are not completely convinced that she’s faking her new found religious fervour, but putting myself into Margaery’s shoes, I can see that it’s the only option if she wants to get herself and her brother to safety. Certainly defying the Faith hasn’t helped anyone so far, so playing along seems to be the way to go.

Back at Horn Hill we have the promised meeting with Lord Randyll Tarly, a man renowned for being one of the best war commanders in Westeros and for generally being the worst dad ever (a title previously shared only with Stannis Baratheon). We already know that he forced Sam to renounce his heritage and join the Night’s Watch in order to “make him a man” and it is hardly a surprise when he is disappointed by what he sees. When the inevitable reveal comes along that Gilly is not a whore from Moles Town but a Wilding, then of course the awkwardness goes up to 11.

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Meal times at Horn Hill, second only in awkwardness to Breaking Bad

Sam is banished from Horn Hill forever by his father, but Gilly is allowed to stay and clean the kitchens and baby Sam will be ‘looked after’. This is the best that Sam could hope for, certainly safer than fightin’ The Whitewalkers at The Wall, and he tells Gilly that as he goes to leave them. But after a moment’s reflection, he swiftly returns to take them away with him (yaaay!). Sam says that they ‘belong together’ and they sneak out during the night, stopping only to rob his father’s incredibly precious Valyrian steel sword Heartsbane in a moment of brilliance or madness or both.

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Not sure this is a good idea Sam, given that your dad knows exactly where you are going next *facepalm*

And over the sea we go to Braavos and my favourite part of the episode. My MVP for this week Arya is watching the Ember Island Players Izembaro’s Braavosi acting troupe as she scouts the target she must kill her for final Faceless Man assignment. Lady Crane it appears, has inspired some serious jealousy in the actress playing Sansa and has had a contract taken out with the Faceless Men against her life.

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A girl shouldn’t be taking this much enjoyment from the play, but since it’s Joffrey’s death scene I’m sure it’s allowed

It’s very poignant as we see Arya relive some of the history that she’s been a part of, as well as having other events such as the death of King Joffrey filled in for her. Despite her enjoyment of the performances, she is in intent on fulfilling her mission, slipping backstage to poison the actress’ wine bottle. On her way out she bumps into Lady Crane and we get some fantastic writing from the show, as a discussion about the play starts to take on two meanings.

At face value, when Lady Crane complains about the writing to Arya and the girl who is No One tells her to change the script, they are just simply talking about the play. But as the scene goes on, we start to realise that the advice Arya is giving Lady Crane could also be applied to her own life. She didn’t come to Braavos to be ‘No One’. She came to Braavos to be strong enough to take revenge on those who had wronged her and her family.

When shit gets real at Kings Landing and the Lannisters move against the Starks in Season 1, she could do nothing to help her teacher Syrio Forel. Since then, she has been captured and used to other’s gain and not her own. Even as a Faceless Man, she has still been following someone else’s story, the story of No One. Arya realises in this moment that she doesn’t have to be No One or A Girl or any of the roles she’s been playing since her father died. She can change the script herself.

She realises that she can be Arya Stark and she remembers her purpose, why she came to Braavos in the first place and where she needs to go next.

She loved [him] more than anything, and he was taken from her before she could say goodbye. She wouldn’t just cry. She would be angry. She would want to kill the person who did this to her.. I have to go. My father’s waiting for me. – Arya Stark, Episode 6: Blood of My Blood

So instead of allowing Lady Crane to drink the poison she saves her life and warns her about the actress playing Sansa who it seems  took out the contract in the first place. What this means of course is that The Many-Faced God require a death. The Kindly Man warned Arya last episode that they would need a face for the wall in the House of the Undying, and if it’s not Lady Crane’s then it will be Arya’s own face that they will come for – specifically that The Waif is coming for.

Arya retrieves her things from her hidden place, including the sword that her brother Jon gave her, Needle. The last moment we see her she blows out a candle, seemingly in wait for those who are coming to take her life for their god.

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Cersei, Illyn Payne, the Red Woman….

But what do we say to the God of Death Arya?

Not Today

NOT TODAY!

From Braavos, we head to Kings Landing for the clash between the Lannisters, Tyrells and the Faith Militant. The tension has been building for this face-off since Cersei armed the High Sparrow last season and her plans entirely back-fired ending up in her Walk of Atonement (SHAME!). This was definitely one of my favourite moments in this episode, not least because we get to see Mace Tyrell in all his splendour, his horse being led by soldier we presume because he can’t ride it properly himself. His speech is brilliantly uninspiring too. GO TEAM TYRELL!

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Tyrell helmet: + 50 Charisma, -25 intimidation

Whilst the Tyrell forces are impresive, the hoards of civilians watching the spectacle completely and utterly outnumber them. If there is to be an attack on the High Sparrow and his men, then surely the people will revolt and massacre everyone in their way. Unintimidated however Jaime rides up to the High Sparrow like a total badass to claim Margaery and Loras (or else!).

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What a majestic, kingslaying, incest loving kid-crippler! My feelings about Jaime are not torn at all

However somewhat predictably, the High Sparrow has out-manoeuvred his foes by telling Tommen (who had been kept in the dark about all this) of the High Council’s plans to go behind his back and attack the Faith Militant. Not only that, but Tommen strolls out with his newly armoured Kingsguard (check out their breast-plates) and announces that The Crown and The Faith are now as one. The High Sparrow has usurped all the other players in one bold move, and in front of thousands of onlookers too.

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Lady Olenna said it best

We have no idea of the fates of the Tyrells yet, but for Jaime he has been exiled from Kings Landing and stripped of his position as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Jaime is completely incredulous at this turn of events, but we book fans don’t care because someone else is going to the Riverlands too (BRIENNE!!!!) and another plot-line may be back in play. We can only wait and see and be utterly GETHYPE!

Not only that, but Cersei refers to her upcoming trial by combat as her and Jaime say their goodbyes. She is utterly confident because she has the (un)Mountain as her protector, the greatest warrior alive in Westeros. In the distance I can hear a train whistle shrilly. It is the hype train and I am fully onboard for Clegane Bowl. I really can’t believe that it almost certainly looks as though it’s going to happen with a potential reveal of Sandor Clegane being alive and well in the next episode? WHAT IS HYPE MAY NEVER DIE!

Also before I forget to mention, Walder Frey returns briefly in case we forgot how utterly reprehensible he was. It’s worth mentioning because he has Edmure Tully as a hostage and he wants Riverun back in Frey possession. We can only hope that Walder Frey dies terribly very soon, preferably at the hands of a Stark/Snow.

Back up North with Bran, Meera and their saviour we get our Benjen/Coldhands reveal and it is a beautiful thing. Starks seem to be reuniting across Westeros and we can only hope that they are carrying massive karma bombs with them to right the so many wrongs that they have faced as a family.

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Had to turn himself in because he was just too good

Benjen reveals that he is not fully human any more after the Children of the Forest saved his life. He had been attacked by the Whitewalkers whilst out ranging and was beginning to turn into one of their wights when their magic managed to stop the effect. He had been working for Bloodraven up until this point. Benjen tells Bran that he must get ready to face the Night’s King at the Wall and I get a really bad feeling about all of this. Bran still has the Night King’s mark on him. The mark that dispelled the magic on Bloodraven’s cave and the magic that is imbued in The Wall to keep the Whitewalkers out of Westeros. Yes, let’s go there Bran. Good shout Benjen. NOT!

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Only Joffrey approves of this stupidity

And now over to somewhere in the Dothraki desert, where Dany is in full-on white saviour mode. She disappears for a brief moment and arrives riding Drogon. It is an impressive display that shows the Mother of Dragons finally in control of her mount. Previously she had been too afraid of her dragons and unable to control them. Even when Drogon saves her in the fighting pits and drops her off with the Dothraki, it is the dragon in control and not Daenerys. Now though it seems that she is worthy of her steed and delivers a speech that echoes strongly of the one Khal Drogo gave his Khalesar in Season 1.

She is going to Westeros as a conqueror, not a just ruler. She is going to break the wheel and I can only wonder at her character development this season as it seems more and more that she’s somewhat unhinged.

Maybe she isn’t the saviour we have been waiting for all this time?

Preview for episode 7, Game of Thrones: The Broken Man

A few final thoughts:

  • NO ONE BOWL CONFIRMED
  • Jaime x Brienne ship vs Tormund x Brienne Ship
  • LSH CONFIRMED?
  • CLEGANE BOWL CERTAINLY CONFIRMED
  • Arya to take the Waif’s face?
  • Is Cersei going to burn Kingslanding down?
  • Mace the Ace for the Throne!!
  • CHOOOO CHOOOOOOO

Game of Thrones

I will literally die if we see this fella soon :p

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