Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 6 recap: because family comes first
The following is a recap of episode 6 from the sixth season of Game of Thrones, and it contains spoilers. Many spoilers.
Family was the name of the game in this near bloodless episode called Blood of My Blood. Almost everyone in this episode was backing up the rather obvious theme that has run through both the books and the show - family loyalty.
Another Stark is back in the picture
The episode began with Meera Reed trudging through the snow and pulling Bran along. Unable to haul him over a root, she finally breaks down. And for good reason: wights are still chasing them, Hodor and the Three Eyed Raven are dead and all hope looks lost. Bran is being useless as usual in the real world - he's still trying to sort through the mega data dump the Three Eyed Raven made him download.
But a mysterious figure on horseback comes to their rescue. After smashing through some wights and getting them away, he reveals himself as Benjen Stark.
Quick recap: Benjen is Ned Stark's brother, and was First Ranger of the Night's Watch prior to disappearing during an expedition beyond the Wall.
In both the show and the books, he hasn't been heard from since.
Thanks to that note of ambiguity, David Benioff and DB Weiss and gang obviously found it prudent to install him as Coldhands, the one zombie whose mission is to fight the White Walkers. That's despite George RR Martin's repeated protests that Benjen Stark is not Coldhands. Oh, well.
Anyway, Benjen says he got stabbed and left for dead by the White Walkers only to be saved by the Children of the Forest with another shard of obsidian/ dragonglass to the heart so that he'd become lean-mean-White-Walker-fighting-machine.
It's pretty nuts to see a second Stark reunion barely a couple of episodes after Jon and Sansa found each other. Benjen's return also means that he may finally reveal the secret he almost told Jon back in Season 1: that Jon is Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen's son. And that Rhaegar was not Lyanna's rapist, as Robert Baratheon had spouted in Season 1.
Bran's visions through the episode also bring us back to the Tower of Joy and taste of a lot more history. The flashes reveal the Mad King screaming, "Burn them all", Jaimie Lannister moving to stab him in the back, the Night King grabbing Bran's arm (that's going to be very significant later when the wights reach the Wall) and of Wildfire burning a city to the ground.
The fact that HBO bothered to show us a glimpse of what went down with Aerys means that we'll definitely get more soon. After all, they're not likely to waste the set and actors. Perhaps we'll soon get confirmation that it was Bran who drove the Mad King insane by whispering, "Burn them all" about the White Walkers.
After all, the Targaeryns did have dragons and it would've been logical to launch a fiery, aerial attack on the army of wights. Silly, meddling Bran.
Benjen confirms one more thing: Bran is officially the new Three Eyed Raven.
A girl remembers her name
Keeping up with Starks, Arya finally revealed that she is still a girl with a name. Hell, even her sword has a name: Needle.
This inevitability comes about when Arya unsurprisingly chose to spare Lady Crane's life when she realises that she'd rather kill the real Cersei. And in one quick bang, we have the mischievous yet straightforward Arya we love back - the one who'll only kill those who deserve it.
But Waif sees and Waif tattles. She now has permission to kill.
Which is fine by me because that Stark vs Waif smackdown is going to be epic. Especially with Needle back in play.
Also, loved Arya's involuntary giggle when the meta-play performed a reenactment of Jeoffrey Baratheon's death in precious detail. All while the audience around her stares with slack-jawed horror.
The Tarly show
In greener pastures, Sam and Gilly arrive at Horn Hill under the guise of a good-old fashioned nuclear family. Sam's mum and sister are adorable and fawn all over them cutely. That warm welcome/rom com moment makes you think something terrible is around the corner, but nope.
Sam's hateful father remains hateful and reminded of the humiliation he faced for years, Sam can't stand up to him.
But Gilly can and does, declaring Sam to be fine warrior after his dad fat shames the hell out of him. But while doing so she let's the fact that she's Wildling slip and Tarly senior will have none of that. Sam's told to leave and never come back for a second time and to leave Gilly to work in the kitchens.
Gilly alone at Horn Hill sounded like a terrible idea. Luckily, Sam realises that at the last second and they both make a dash for it.
But not before he makes off with a 500-year-old family heirloom: a sword made of Valyrian steel. That can kill White Walkers. It's a heavy suggestion that he'll still have a big role to play in the war to come. Go Sam!
An unholy alliance
Two episodes ago, it looked like the streets of King's Landing would be bathed in blood. But that promised bloodbath never arrived.
Instead, the High Sparrow played the aristocracy at their own game after a brief moment where battle seemed likely - there was no walk of atonement for Margaery Tyrell, just the announcement in front of the entire city, including Jaime, Cersei, and Olenna, that King Tommen has now taken on the Faith of the Seven.
But despite Margaery spinning that tale for Tommen about how she has atoned, let's not forget why she's even here in the first place. There is simply NO way that she wouldn't protect Loras - the innocent and pure light of her life.
That's been her endgame since the beginning and you can bet that that has not changed.
And Tommen, Tommen, Tommen. The poor boy is being pulled in three directions: his mother, his wife and now the High Sparrow. His first act in partnership with Sparrow is to strip Jaime of his Kingsguard colors - the one title his real father truly identified with for over 25 years and to send him off to the Riverlands to help Walder Frey defeat the Tullys.
It'll be interesting to see how that turns out. That's because Jaime owes Catelyn Stark a debt for sparing his life and sending him back to King's Landing way back in the second book/season. In the books, he wanted Frey dead because of Cat's murder.
Back in the fray
Walter Frey is back in the fray. That revolting old man is ticked off about the Tullys, but let's be assured that Frey will get his comeuppance soon. And whether it's at the hands of a Stark, Lady Brienne, or even one of his own appallingly mistreated family members, that dastardly old man has it coming.
The episode ends with a rousing speech from a Drogon-riding Daenerys that was reminiscent of the speech Khal Drogo gave on Season 1 when he declared he would bring Westeros to its knees for his new bride.
At least she's finally decided that she's tired of Essos and that it's time for Westeros to pay the price for the murder and ouster of her family.
But will we get to witness such a return this season? Well, if Euron Greyjoy has his way, just maybe.
It's also great to see that Dany can now ride Drogon regularly and mostly control his movements.
The board is almost set
The ball is definitely rolling now with Arya on the run, Sam and Gilly also on the run, Dany planning her invasion and even Jaime galloping toward a date with the Blackfish. And since we had a breather when it came to any notable deaths this episode, you can bet your bottom dollar that next Monday will be quite the gore fest.
Is it going to bastard versus bastard at Winterfell? Or a bloody battle at Riverrun? Maybe Lord Manderley, like he does in the books, will make his famous pies out of three Freys and send it to old man Walder?
One last question: with Brienne and Jaime both headed to the Riverlands without Tormund around to look all moon-eyed at the former, will the war of the century break out amongst Game of Thrones fans?
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