Game of Thrones Memory Lane 606: Blood of My Blood

Blood of My Blood_Margaery Atonement Ceremony

With the tragic and heart-wrenching ending that is thrust upon us during the final sequence of “The Door”, it’s a difficult task to return to the show the next week with one’s head held high. Perhaps this is why “Blood Of My Blood” is a dialogue-heavy episode with a noticeable lack of death (with the exception of the few unlucky wights that bear the full force of Benjen’s flaming weapon).

That being said, this episode certainly doesn’t lack in the progression of storylines. Among them include the awkward Tarly dinner to welcome home Sam and Gilly, Arya’s poisoning failure and ultimate questioning of herself as No One, and the merging of the Crown and the Faith by King Tommen aka Mr. Malleable.

We’re also reintroduced to a couple of characters we haven’t seen in quite some time. Benjen Stark swoops in and saves Bran and Meera from certain death at the hands of the relentless wights. And back at the Twins, Walder Frey concocts a plan to retake Riverrun from Brynden Tully aka the Blackfish, using none other than his nephew and current Frey prisoner, Edmure Tully, as a bargaining chip.

Blood of My Blood_Benjen Stark

The beginning of “Blood Of My Blood” picks up right where “The Door” leaves off. Meera is trudging through the snowy forest and struggling to tug along the unconscious Bran, who continues to process the data that the recently-deceased Three-Eyed Raven manages to upload to him before the Night King does him in. In a couple of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ montages, we get a quick peek at the information Bran is processing, comprises both flashbacks and flash-forwards. A couple of the notable images include the Mad King on the Iron Throne (and a repetition of his command to “Burn them all!”), the slaying of the Mad King by the Kingslayer himself, Hardhome, and various shots of wildfire, including a large wildfire explosion in a storage cellar (which we now know is footage from the Sept explosion in episode 10; read a full analysis of Bran’s visions here).

As Meera falls to the ground out of exhaustion, a group of wights surround her and Bran. Just as it looks like it could be the end for the traveling duo, Uncle Benjen swoops in on horseback and takes out a few of the undead with his awesome sickle and flaming flail. When the coast is momentarily clear, Benjen hoists Bran and Meera onto his horse and rides away out of danger.

Blood of My Blood_Benjen Sickle

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Later in the episode, Benjen takes off his disguise, revealing his true identity to his nephew, much to the delight of Bran. Benjen also admits that he was destined to become a member of the undead army, having been stabbed by a White Walker’s sword and left to die. However, the Children of the Forest managed to save him from absolute death by inserting dragonglass (the very material used to create the White Walkers) into his wound and reversing the Walkers’ magic. Dragonglass giveth, and dragonglass taketh away…

Blood of My Blood_Sam and Gilly

Flying over to The Reach, we join Sam and Gilly, who have survived the tumultuous seas and are now en route via carriage to the Tarly’s home in Horn Hill. Sam is understandably nervous as he faces a reunion with his father, Randyll Tarly, who previously stripped away Sam’s inheritance and claim to the throne. As he reminds Gilly of this gloomy fact, he also reveals that he intentionally neglected to mention to his family that Gilly is a wildling as a means of protecting her from Randyll’s hatred toward her kind. He further prepares his wildling partner by asking that she refer to Little Sam as his own child, instead of the product of Craster’s incest-driven desires.

Despite all of these anxiety-inducing facts, Sam and Gilly’s initial welcoming to the Tarly home by Sam’s mother, Melessa, and sister, Talla, is nothing short of wonderful. They both take an immediate liking to Gilly, who is whisked away to clean up and dress for what they hope will be a nice family dinner.

Blood of My Blood_Randyll Tarly

Later, at said dinner, we have the pleasure of meeting Sam’s younger brother, Dickon (played by Freddie Stroma in a fleeting performance, recast to Tom Hopper for the upcoming season 7). Having just returned from a hunt with father Randyll, young Dickon can’t help but brag about he and his father’s successful hunt.

The conversation then turns to Sam and the plan he’s formulated to study to become a maester, and then return to Castle Black to practice his new craft. As someone who quite obviously values a type of man who fights for a living, Randyll is less than enthused about Sam’s new life chapter, even going so far as to put down his son for being overweight. Sam defends his decision, but his claims fall upon deaf ears as Randyll refuses to take his son’s perspective.

One of the lighter (but equally as awkward) moments of this dinner comes courtesy of Gilly, who momentarily seems as if she’s completely lost holding her silverware – a subtle but effective nod to her wildling roots. However, her secret manages to expose itself to the Tarly clan, courtesy of an inadvertent comment Gilly makes about coming “down” to Castle Black. Randyll puts two and two together, and subsequently unleashes upon the new arrivals with a spew of hatred. While most of his tirade is composed of hurtful messages aimed at Sam and his wildling love, he does at one point bring to their attention the Valyrian steel family sword Heartsbane, which stands perched on top of the dining hall’s mantle. This ultimately proves to be a foolish mention, as Sam later steals the sword from the mantle as he and Gilly escape from the Tarly household.

Blood of My Blood_Arya

Away to Braavos we go, where we meet up with Arya as she once again attends a performance of Lady Crane’s troupe of mummers, her mission still to poison Crane’s drink. This time, the performers re-enact Joffrey’s Purple Wedding poisoning, much to the delight of Arya, and only Arya (she is the only one among the crowd who smiles at Joffrey’s death).

Arya then makes her way backstage with the vile of poison, and manages to pour the lethal concoction into Lady Crane’s drink right before the mummers leave the stage. Arya thinks she has a clean escape, but is stopped by Lady Crane, who claims that she’s noticed Arya in the crowd multiple days, and is curious why the observer is now suddenly backstage. Arya responds by giving the actress notes on how to improve her performance of Cersei during Joffrey’s death (too much crying, not enough anger), and tells Lady Crane that her name is Mercy. Mercy, it turns out, is the very thing Arya shows Lady Crane, as she smacks the poisoned cocktail out of the actress’s hand just before the first sip is taken, ultimately saving Crane’s life. Little does Arya know that The Waif bears witness to this act against the Many Faced God, and receives permission from Jaqen H’ghar to inflict the ultimate punishment on his promising student, so long as Arya doesn’t suffer (spoiler – she suffers a LOT).

Blood of My Blood_Arya Needle

While Arya loses the final chance she’s given to prove herself to Jaqen and to the Many Faced God, what she gains is arguably far more important – a revived sense of herself as Arya Stark. With a newfound sense of who she truly is, she retrieves Needle from its burial-place, in preparation for the inevitable consequences she will face at the hands of The Waif.

Blood of My Blood_Tommen & Margaery

To King’s Landing we now go, where the High Sparrow speaks to King Tommen regarding Margaery’s walk of atonement that she must complete in order to wash herself of the sins she’s committed. While nervous about Margaery’s safety, Tommen seems to accept her fate, which is even further solidified when he’s taken to speak with the Queen herself. The resulting conversation, during which Margaery convinces Tommen that she’s ready to accept the Light of the Seven and atone for her sins, is all part of the plan we now know Margaery is concocting.

However, Jaime has other plans for the locked up Queen. After speaking to a worried Olenna Tyrell in regards to her granddaughter’s walk of atonement, he vows to align himself and his Kingsguard with Mace Tyrell and the Highgarden army, and crash the atonement ceremony to put an end to Margaery’s demoralizing walk before it even begins.

Blood of My Blood_Jaime & Mace

The resulting scene is one of my favorites in this episode, and I can’t help but admit a big reason why is because of the stark juxtaposition between Jaime and Mace as both leaders storm the atonement ceremony on horseback. On the one hand, you have Mace, adorned with a large, feathery, and arguably ridiculous helmet. He doesn’t ride into the ceremony, so much as he is slowly led in on horseback via a helper who is guiding his horse. Once settled, he proceeds to attempt an inspirational speech for his Highgarden men that falls humorously flat. Jaime, on the other hand, performs one of the coolest horseback maneuvers I’ve seen on the show, swiftly galloping his horse up the numerous steps of the Sept without so much as breaking a sweat.

However defiant Jaime’s plan may seem, it ultimately turns out to be for naught. The High Sparrow proceeds to announce that the Crown and the Faith have been united as one, a decision Tommen made after no doubt being manipulated by both the High Sparrow and Margaery. As a result, Jaime, who has now technically conspired against the newly aligned Crown in his attempt to save Margaery, is stripped of his Kingsguard title, and banished from King’s Landing. The new mission of the demoted Lannister: take back Riverrun from the Blackfish.

Blood of My Blood_Dany & Drogon

The episode concludes with a trip back east to Essos, where Daenerys and Daario lead the newly acquired khalasar back to Meereen (a journey that Daario informs her will take a week). As a result of this information, Dany, who perhaps fears her new army will lose steam over the week-long journey, decides to spice things up a bit to ensure that she has the full devotion of her followers. After Dany rides away to seemingly nowhere, the confused khalasar suddenly spot the shadow of a dragon piercing through the mountaintops, and before long Dany appears atop the impressively large Drogon. The duo land squarely in front of Dany’s khalasar army, where Dany proceeds to give the motivational speech that Mace never could, pumping up her army and rallying them to cross the Narrow Sea and defeat the armies of the Seven Kingdoms.

Introductions: Randyll Tarly, Melessa Tarly, Dickon Tarly, Talla Tarly, Kitty Frey, King Aerys II (via flashback)

Reintroductions: Benjen Stark, Edmure Tully, Needle

Deaths: A few wights (courtesy of Benjen)

Notable Quotes:

“I’m not angry with you. I’m angry that horrible people can treat good people that way and get away with it.” – Gilly

“You’ll stand trial soon. I need to be here for you.” – Jaime “It will be a trial by combat. I have the Mountain. They made us both stronger. All of them. They have no idea how strong we are. No idea what we’re going to do to them. We’ve always been together. We’ll always be together. We’re the only two people in the world.” – Cersei

“It’s a castle, not a blood sheep. Presumably you still know where it is. You didn’t lose Riverrun. You let the Blackfish take it from you.” – Walder Frey

“Every Khal who ever lived chose three blood riders to fight beside him and guard his way. But I am not a Khal. I will not choose three blood riders. I choose you all!” – Daenerys

Beautiful Death for Blood of My Blood, by Robert M. Ball

Beautiful Death_Blood of My Blood


  1. Meera got the workout of her life dragging Bran everywhere. With a workout like that, who needs Crossfit?

  2. Another awesome episode, with lots to take in, lots of dialogue and set up for the rest of the season.

    Some notes about this episode for me:
    – I remember watching the beginning and being on the edge of my seat, super stressed and flabbergasted when I saw the visions. I don’t know why but visions of the Mad King were extremely satisfying to me. Benjen reveal – YAS!
    – Arya’s story here was fantastic. First, her conversation with Lady Crane was amazing. And second, I loved that she finally made the decision on herself, a true Stark, not a senseless assassin, and the retrieval of needle, well, feels……….
    – The dinner at Hornhill was so intense and captivating. The actor who plays Randyll was spot on. This really only happened to get Heartsbane in Sam’s hands.
    – The King’s Landing scene was very well made, and so beautiful to watch, especially Mace’s feather 🙂 hahaha
    – And finally, the last scene, the “gives me goosies” scene… it was epic, and I know people didn’t like it, but I loved it.. I thought it was necessary to get the Dothraki on her side and show them the type of leader that she is. Perfection

    Another amazing episode 🙂

  3. Enjoyed the Branovision, the introduction of the appalling Randyll Tarly and the Arya scene ( before the Braavos storyline goes off beam in the next epi, ) but otherwise this one fell a bit flat for me, coming after such a great final scene in “‘The Door’.

  4. I demand randill at least in two episodes , but a hope for 3. What a great actor and carácter.

  5. Sam and Gilly’s screen time is extremely concentrated this season, but I quite enjoyed their segment here. They have very nice chemistry as actors, and the Tarlys were well-cast. I don’t know that I really buy Sam being able to take Heartsbane and go to Oldtown unmolested the way he does, though.

  6. Hey Drogon, where ya been? Ah, ya let mommy go and assert herself so she could come back worthy of your ride. Got it. You’ve got standards! In any case, Drogon seems well-healed after his Daznak dance!

    I do like Benjen’s tale. Out of all the dead from a WW’s blade, the CotF chose to take a risk with him and implant another obsidian pacemaker? Hmmm. What makes him so special to the CotFs? His Starkness? I’m surprised that Bran couldn’t “see” him better but I did enjoy the great visions from the past and foreshadowing.

    I truly am surprised that the FM would take on a client who would kill someone just to get an acting part. I thought they had higher standards, but I feel that’s the real reason why Arya couldn’t go through with it and avoid becoming “No One.” 🙂 Perhaps that was the real test she faced…and Jaqen/Kindly Man knew all along that it was a farce and she would “fail”…he was testing both the Waif and Arya, knowing full well that Arya would “win.” (although I dislike how the stabby-stabby stuff played out later).

    Glad that Heartsbane made an appearance. Need more Valyrian steel, please! Gilly makes me smile. Wildling pride!

  7. Dee Stark: the last scene, the “gives me goosies” scene… it was epic, and I know people didn’t like it, but I loved it..

    I liked it too. It was also necessary to get Drogon back into the story and back to Daenerys at some point after already to the sixth episode and there being no sign of him yet. She would have had a hard time getting back into the pyramid and to her advisors for organizing the plan without him as well. They probably didn’t need to have her ride off on horse and fly back in. I think it would have been just as effective to have Drogon fly in and land in front of Daenerys for her to climb on. The Dothraki would have been afraid and then impressed that way as well. What they did worked for me though too.

    The scene watching the play, seeing Arya’s expression when she notices Bianca, the talk with Lady Crane… one of my favorite Arya scenes in the series, which is saying a lot. I also think it was a big piece in Maisie earning the Emmy nom too.

  8. Dee Stark: once he crosses the wall, if he does

    Hey, world traveler, I don’t know about the leaks but the trailer

    implies Bran is contemplating in WF’s godswood in a cool wheelchair.

    (respecting your wish to be unspoiled in any way)

  9. When I’m in the mood for a slower paced episode, this is usually one that comes to mind. Another is Mockingbird from season 4, but I digress.

    I enjoyed seeing Benjen again, but I especially enjoyed the flashbacks during the chase scene in the beginning.

    I love the dinner scene despite Randyll Tarly’s get off my lawn attitude. I think it’s the setting and the cinematography that does it for me. With the fire roaring and the way the room is lit in a dark tint, it’s just a pleasing scene on the eyes. And the way Randyll’s anger slowly builds up throughout the dinner is well done. Too bad we don’t get to see more of Sam’s mother and sister. They are a delight.

    The “No walk of atonement” scene was ok. Just more of the High Sparrow doing High Sparrow things. However, any chance to see Mace being Mace is a welcome addition in my book.

    I enjoyed more of the theatre troupe in this one. I was especially excited to see Arya recover Needle and start formulating her plan to get the hell out of Braavos. The music playing gave the scene an extra shot of adrenaline that pumped me up and left me wanting to see more. Unfortunately, the events in the next episode completely destroy all this for me, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it tomorrow.

    I could’ve done without the Daenerys speech at the end of the episode. Both my wife and I rolled our eyes and cringed a bit with this scene. I’m sure plenty of people enjoyed it, but there are only so many speeches I can take from Daenerys. This one fell flat for me.

    Overall, I enjoyed the episode, but it was nothing special. I’d say it falls somewhere in the middle of the pack for season 6.

  10. The episode that’s on my list for today. My second least favorite from the season but still a quality episode overall, a mid 8 for sure. The Horn Hill scenes are the ones that especially stand out for me, along with Bran ones. Not that much of a fan of Dany speech… I see it more as fanservice than actual plot point, but I will see after today’s watch if I will like it any more… Great to see the dragon again though. But for more details, I will of course share a page from my history writings.

    Lord Parramandas’s 6th review – quiet before the storm and the point,
    when reviews started to get a shape
    written on May 30th 2016

    Another week is over and it is Lord Parramandas’s duty to write his (brief) review:

    A perfect phrase to describe this episode would be “Quiet before the Storm” but as opposed to other build-up episodes, the scenes in this one were actually very good.

    Daenerys: I agree with Sue on this one and I think this shouldn’t have been the last scene. What was supposed to be a highlight of this scene? Drogon’s return or Daenerys’s speech? Well, I’m glad that they again avoided “The Stallion Who Mounts The World”. But what I really liked is Daario’s statement “You were not born to sit on the iron chair. You are a conquerer.” I really hope this actually foreshadows her fate. Even though I started to like her more in the last couple episodes, I don’t want to see her on the IT.

    Bran & Meera: God, I loved Ellie Kendrick’s performance in this scene. Prior to this, she was always overshadowed by other characters (Jojen, Three-Eyed Raven) but now she has a chance to shine. And Benjen is back! I can say that a revelation wasn’t really surprising for me because I recognized the actor’s voice while he was still disguised. But Joseph Mawle is actually an actor who was absent for the longest time. And God, Benjen looks like a living corpse… What does the dragonglass mean? Is he slowly turning into the WW? Side note: I have to remove “presumed dead” on my character apperiances list, change his status to “alive” and add his flashback episodes to the list.

    King’s Landing: Prior to this episode I thought the confrontation on the stairs would be the climax to Sparrows’ storyline and that there would be some major casualities (Tommen or Margaery among them). Now I see that this scene was another part of the build-up towards the climax. Mace’s speech was great by the way and I can easily imagine why the soldiers follow him. He makes a better soldier than a lord. Tommen basically pulled Jaehaerys I. (except for the part about weapons) and Jaime was expelled from the Kingsguard! So the reason for going to RL is not breaking up with Cersei. That actually foreshadows a certain prophecy from the book.

    Horn Hill: Easily my favorite scene of this episode. The performance of all the actors was great, especially the one from James Faulkner. If I hated Randyll even before he actually appeared, I hate him even more now. God, what an awful father! At least Tywin recognized Tyrion’s political abilities… I really liked the scene where Melessa and Talla leave the table and I was worried that Dickon will be another ass to Sam, but he was actually very nice. And Gilly was so pretty in that dress. Heartbane was a nice addition to the storyline and I really liked the fact that Randyll lost what is most precious to him. So Gilly’s storyline apparently does not end at Horn Hill. I wonder if that is a spoiler for future novels…

    Braavos: I would say Arya is in big trouble. The Waif is coming for her. Last time, I thought she will actually replace Bianca as Sansa, but now I see it’s not the case.

    The Twins: Walder and Edmure are back and the latter one does not look well. I wonder if this is the last season for these two…

    Bran’s visions: One thing to point out: The explosion of wildfire in the cellar is probably from the future and I’m almost sure, who is responsible for it.

    I missed Sansa (who I can easily proclaim as my favorite character at the moment) in this episode but I pretty much enjoyed most of the scenes. My biggest complaint is, that neither scene particulary stood out so my final judgement is……………. a good 8. On my rank-list, I would put this episode on rank 30 between Sons of the Harpy (rank 31) and Mockingbird (rank 29), which makes it better than The Red Woman and slightly worse than Oathbreaker (which actually managed to join the 9s because of Tower of Joy).

  11. firstone:

    that is what will cause the wall to come crashing down
    Wow…extreme, but something extreme is bound to happen, I suppose. Are the WW/wights still afraid of water (in its various forms) though? 🙂 In any case, if the wall does come down, this is the music that will be in my head!

    “Well they blew the horns
    And the walls came down…”

  12. Mr Derp:

    I could’ve done without the Daenerys speech at the end of the episode.Both my wife and I rolled our eyes and cringed a bit with this scene.I’m sure plenty of people enjoyed it, but there are only so many speeches I can take from Daenerys.This one fell flat for me.

    I somehow agree with this… I didn’t cringe in the scene, but it felt a bit… odd? Misplaced? Forced? Not sure which term to use to describe it.

  13. Clob,

    In my version

    The scene starts with Dany and Other dosh khaleens sitting inside the tent ..she gives them some orders how to carry out their plans and dish khaleens leave the tent…

    Dany turns to jorah and darrio and here we can have that scene of “I command you to cure yourself” and when he leaves the tent…dany looks at darrio curiously because he has been awefully silent and was not used to be like this before but before she can ask the reason They both hear commotion at outside sothey go out for looking for the reason for this..
    There they join jorah to find Drogon flying over them all and dany walks to the clear field and drogon lands next to her ..she pets him and climbs him and gives the Speech beneath the Mother of Mountains …
    And then we see jorah from afar watching the dothraki march out of Vaes dothrak and dany and Drogon take to skies …

    Have to say it’s become very hard to catch up with all the news lately of you to take one or two days break..

  14. Lord Parramandas: I somehow agree with this…

    Lord Parramandas,

    Is it that hard to believe we agree on something? lol

    Lord Parramandas: I didn’t cringe in the scene, but it felt a bit… odd? Misplaced? Forced? Not sure which term to use to describe it.

    Lord Parramandas,

    I’ll go with all of the above! 🙂

    In all seriousness, the speech kind of came out of nowhere and was ridiculously cliche. They went to the well one too many times with the speech, imo. The only thing missing was “they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom! rah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

  15. Clob: They probably didn’t need to have her ride off on horse and fly back in. I think it would have been just as effective to have Drogon fly in and land in front of Daenerys for her to climb on.

    I feared for the horse as she rode off. I think it may have become lunch.

  16. Clob: The scene watching the play, seeing Arya’s expression when she notices Bianca, the talk with Lady Crane… one of my favorite Arya scenes in the series, which is saying a lot. I also think it was a big piece in Maisie earning the Emmy nom too.

    I wonder what it means that this actress was playing Sansa.

  17. Dee Stark: I wonder what it means that this actress was playing Sansa.

    Well, the actress that Arya “saved” was playing Cersei if we’re discussing that… I assume it doesn’t mean anything.

  18. dragonbringer,

    If you are under obligation to have a character or actor appear 8 episodes of a season ..then I expect them to write scenes and materials for those 8 episodes instead of writing for less episodes and cutting and pasting them over episodes so that they can meet the 8 episode …could have easily done with dany appearing only 7 episodes (episode 5 and 6 combined) or 6 episodes ( epispde 3 and 4 combined ),if you are not going to write new material for her …

    It amazes me that there are those who question the importance of that scene or necessity of it..but then again I shouldn’t be surprised …

  19. Mr Derp:
    Lord Parramandas,

    I replied, but it’s stuck in moderation pergatory at the moment

    I was stuck in moderation purgatory for hours a couple days ago… I think you’re already out of it.

  20. Another great episode – has there really ever been a bad one? … Kudos to Dylan Moir for his detailed and well written recap.

    Was great to see Benjen again and turning up with impeccable timing to save Bran and Meera from those Wights. It will be great if he appears in S7 with his fire flail fighting alongside Jon when he faces the WW and their Army of the Dead.

    In Kings Landing, I had a chuckle seeing Mace Tyrell with his ridiculous large feather helmet. I thought he was going to burst into song again after giving his speech to his men and Jaime 🙂

    It was amusing also to see Olenna’s expression of dismay when Tommen came out of the Sept, stood beside Margaery and the HS announced there would be no walk of atonement for her as the Crown and the Faith are now one. Although not appearing in those scenes, I bet Cersei was none too happy about that and I’m sure she would have enjoyed seeing Margaery walking naked through the narrow streets of Kings Landing covered in shit 😀

    The scenes at the dinner table with the Tarleys was very good also. It didn’t take Randyll long to discover that Gilly was a Wildling. Gilly’s response in defense of Sam was admirable. It will be interesting to see what the repercussions are in S7 when Randyll discovers Sam and Gilly have crept out of Hornhill and taken Heartsbane with them!

    The scenes in Braavos with Arya were great also. She must have known that in refusing to poison Lady Crane’s drink (albeit she didn’t know The Waif was looking on) it would cause problems for her to continue her training with Jaqen and recovering Needle was a good move.

    The final scene with Dany, Jorah and Diaaro and the Dothraki horde and with her riding off for a time then returning on the back of Drogon was fucking EPIC! That ‘kick-ass’ speech she gave made my neck tingle! Now with her ‘Air Force’, Dany really has become a powerful force to be reckoned with 🙂

  21. I’m a big fan of Meera Reed, as my gushing about her in the previous Memory Lane attests. As such, one of the most emotionally affecting moments of the entire season for me is when the wights are closing in on Meera and Bran, and the little crannogwoman, knowing that they’re facing imminent death, throws herself over Bran’s body, shielding him, and starts sobbing “I’m so sorry!”

    Considering all that Meera has done to guide and protect Bran up to that point, and all that she’s sacrificed – from the relatively secure life that she could have been living at Greywater Watch to the life of her beloved brother Jojen – it’s heartbreaking to witness her belief that her mission is about to end in failure because after all that she’s given, she simply can’t carry Bran any further.

    Of course, they’re saved by the long-lost Benjen Stark in a thoroughly badass moment (that flaming flail is one of the cooler weapons that we’ve seen on the show). I believe that Benjen holds the record for the longest gap between appearances of any character (53 episodes – he was last seen in Season 1, Episode 3 “Lord Snow”). I was never all that enamored with Coldhands (whoever he is) and as such, I didn’t miss him at all during Bran’s journey north. But I thought bringing Benjen back in the role made complete sense. It worked for me both narratively as a way to extract Bran and Meera from their perilous situation, and as a satisfying answer to the long-mysterious fate of one of the show’s original characters.

    I love all of the scenes that take place at Horn Hill. Sam’s family is absolutely lovely, with the obvious exception of Randyll, who is every bit as monstrous as we’ve heard that he was, and that monstrousness is perfectly portrayed by James Faulkner. I remember being completely stoked that Gilly got to wear a fancy dress. Hannah Murray looks beautiful in it, and I’m sure it was a nice change of pace for her after five seasons of wearing the same shapeless sackcloth (shades of Maisie Williams being thrilled to ditch her old costume when Arya finally made it to Braavos at the beginning of Season 5).

    And of course, the way that Gilly speaks up in defense of Sam when Randyll’s savage words are temporarily forcing him back into his childlike, cowering state. Theirs is one of the sweetest and most endearing relationships on the show, and while some will always resent the screentime that’s spent on it, I never, ever will. Sam and Gilly forever!

    Jaime and Cersei’s relationship isn’t quite as sweet, but I love the scene they share in this episode nonetheless. Cersei’s speech about showing their enemies what Lannisters are and what they do to their enemies was one of the highlights of the Season 6 trailers for me, and it lived up to expectations in its proper context. Shades of foreshadowing as well by the time that the Season 6 finale draws to a close, they are indeed the only two people in the world, as far as she’s concerned.

    Arya’s scene with Lady Crane backstage, which prompts Arya to spare her target’s life, is wonderful. I’ll save my thoughts on how much I love Lady Crane and Arya’s relationship for the “No One” Memory Lane, when they’re most relevant, but suffice it to say that I find their interactions to be rich, moving, and essential. It’s an emotional highlight of Arya’s time in Braavos, and well worth the price of admission. For now, shouts to Essie Davis once again. She’s fantastic.

    And screw it – I like Dany’s episode-closing speech. I appreciate the deliberate echoes it carries of Khal Drogo’s speech back in “You Win or You Die”, words that have clearly lingered in her mind for many years. When I watched this scene on my initial viewing, I knew for the first time with absolute certainty that Dany would indeed finally be leaving Essos behind at the end of Season 6. Before this, there was always the barest hint of doubt, instilled by years of conditioning. This speech swept the dying embers of those fears away – rendering it cause for celebration in my estimation.

    Great write-up, Dylan!

  22. Lord Parramandas,

    No.. I mean the actress that Arya was eyeing.. represents “Sansa”, and later on when she said “watch out for this one”
    I wonder what this means in regards to Sansa and Arya’s rlsp

  23. Jared: Jaime and Cersei’s relationship isn’t quite as sweet, but I love the scene they share in this episode nonetheless. Cersei’s speech about showing their enemies what Lannisters are and what they do to their enemies was one of the highlights of the Season 6 trailers for me, and it lived up to expectations in its proper context. Shades of foreshadowing as well by the time that the Season 6 finale draws to a close, they are indeed the only two people in the world, as far as she’s concerned.

    I agree so much with this. Lena was fantastic in this scene…. her response “I have the Mountain”… so much confidence and evil

  24. Dee Stark,

    Yes, I know what you meant… but on the other hand, the actress Arya was helping played Cersei which is a bit weird to be honest.

  25. Lord Parramandas,

    I think it meant to be ironic. Especially when she gives her advice about how to feel after losing her son, because that is how Arya felt after losing people she cares about at the hands of Cersei and her family.

  26. Hodors Bastard:

    I truly am surprised that the FM would take on a client who would kill someone just to get an acting part. I thought they had higher standards, but I feel that’s the real reason why Arya couldn’t go through with it and avoid becoming “No One.” 🙂 Perhaps that was the real test she faced…and Jaqen/Kindly Man knew all along that it was a farce and she would “fail”…he was testing both the Waif and Arya, knowing full well that Arya would “win.”

    It’s a good question. My interpretation is that the Faceless Men consider death a gift, both to the Many-Faced God and to the person upon which they are bestowing it (I love Jaqen’s line from the previous episode – “Does death only come for the wicked and leave the decent behind?”) so the fact that Lady Crane is both a relatively low-profile target and obviously a good person doesn’t shield her (also, for all their grand religious trappings and claims of being “No One”, the Faceless Men are still human beings, and not entirely above human concerns, emotions, and frailties – as Jaqen’s affection and the Waif’s hatred for Arya attest).

    As for why the Faceless Men took this particular contract, Jaqen tells Arya in the previous episode that “A price was paid”. The Faceless Men are supposed to be wildly expensive, but gold and silver are not the only precious commodities in the world. For Kings and Great Lords, for whom gold is cheap, it makes sense that the Faceless Men would charge stratospheric rates. But someone – presumably a poor captain’s widow – was able to take out a contract on the Thin Man, who makes his living bilking unfortunate merchants out of the premiums that they pay for insurance on their ships. I doubt that whatever who sought that particular recourse was able to pay in gold. Maybe the Faceless Men took on that contract because they viewed the Thin Man’s actions, gambling on life and death, as sacrilege, or maybe the person who contracted them paid with something else – their own life, perhaps.

    I think Lady Crane was marked for death because her understudy Bianca sacrificed something extremely dear to her – not money, but something close to her heart and perhaps more sinister. One can only imagine what that was. Seems excessive to earn a lead role, but that’s show business for you.

  27. Dee Stark,

    Lena’s vocal inflections are always great, no matter what Cersei is saying. But she reaches an even higher level whenever she’s feeling particularly confident, or when she’s gifted a particularly vicious line to deliver. This scene has both of those elements in spades. 🙂

  28. Jared,

    Good to see you also enjoyed Dany’s speech sitting on Drogon! It would seem in this thread we are in the minority 😉

    For me, any scenes with Dany (with or without giving a speech) and her dragons are great. Of course, everyone has their likes and dislikes in GoT, but for me, since the arrival of the dragons/magic into the show, its entered into a new dimension. Without the SFX, CGI, etc. it would have been difficult years ago to film the sort of epic scenes with mythical creatures we have got so accustomed to see on GoT. Will be interesting to see if the ‘Ice Spiders’ ever appear on the show 🙂

    I remember as a kid watching the movie “Night of the Demon” (circa 1957) and it scared me shitless back then! However, on watching it again on the web fairly recently, the Demon looked really corny and probably made from rubber. I guess the same could be said for Ray Harryhausen’s battling skeletons and mythical creatures from “Jason and the Argonaults’ and other similar movies back in the 1960’s. Quite an achievement at the time, but pale in comparison to what we see (and expect) today.

    So bring on Dany and her dragons! For me – the more the merrier 😀

  29. God damn the High Sparrow fucking owns. Witness his total ownage of the nobility in this episode and tell me he wasn’t a genius. He earned that throne. What a man, what a character. People just wanted to see him get slaughtered in this scene, but him turning the tables is far far better.

    The greatest contender for the throne in the entire show? Yes. Yes he was. Death to his aristo opposition.

  30. Black Raven,

    I feel like we’ve become somewhat inured to wonder over the past several years, as the show’s budget has increased and such casually awesome visuals have become more commonplace. I suppose it’s understandable to some extent, but there was a time when the show wouldn’t have had the resources or the clout to film a scene like the one that closes this episode – on location, at a stunningly beautiful location in Spain, complete with hundreds of extras and a massive freaking dragon painstakingly brought to life via the magic of some extremely gifted VFX artists. I try my best not to ever lose sight of that. And if I ever do, I kick myself. Not everyone gets to witness such remarkable sights so routinely as part of their favorite show and a story they love. 🙂

    And the scene isn’t just pure spectacle either – it’s a direct callback to one of the most memorable scenes from Season 1, and an important moment for Dany’s journey. I recognize that Dany’s given a lot of speeches over the past six seasons, so the impact can wear thin for some. But I still enjoy watching Emilia Clarke belt out badass declarations in a foreign language, and I thought in this case, the confluence of circumstances warranted such a display.

    As for Ice Spiders, I feel like we have to see them before the end. They’ve been mentioned several times, as recently as “Hardhome” in Season 5. It’s always in the context of legend, but as we’ve seen, many of the old legends are true. Why not this one? It’s probably a final season reveal, something the Night King will only unleash when the final battle arrives. But if and when it happens, it will be well worth it.

  31. Luka Nieto,

    I honestly didn’t mean to write that much! But leave me alone with my thoughts about Game of Thrones, and sometimes that will happen. Fortunately, Dylan did an outstanding job with the Memory Lane post. That left me free to ramble on in the comments. 😉

  32. Jared,

    Black Raven,

    This scene was so important and I only question the placement of this scene and execution…

    For me every dany’s speech has always been different from one another and pretty important to the overall events that will follow…and this scene was not an exception from that..

    As for ICe spiders ..I was so much looking forward to make an appearance in Hardhome and in fact I remember how I spent weeks talking about it …it would have been great to see Hardhome with NK on top of Ice Spider and then Dance of dragons with dany on top of drogon…
    But I ended up being disappointed..I do hope we get to see them eventually in coming seasons…

    I just love NCW as Jamie in an armor and on top of a horse is such a badass …

  33. Hodors Bastard,

    Hee, perhaps the wall falls directly on the NWs heads, burying them all! Winter solved!

    Loved this whole episode (tho I agree while I loved Dany’s speech, it was a little over the top) Loved all of Arya, and her interaction with Lady Crane. Loved The Dinner, how poor gilly looked when Sam closed the door, then the relief when he came back. And yeah, not sure if he would have gotten away with taking Heartsbane, but Ive accepted so many other things, what the hell!

    Tommen’s youth and lack of experience is so apparent here – he wants to be strong, but doesn’t know how to be. In the end he just wants to save his wife and does the only thing he can – join the seven. Did the actor who played him give any interviews on those last scenes? I’d love to know more about what he thought of them.

  34. cosca,

    God damn the High Sparrow fucking owns. Witness his total ownage of the nobility in this episode and tell me he wasn’t a genius. He earned that throne. What a man, what a character. People just wanted to see him get slaughtered in this scene, but him turning the tables is far far better.

    Oh yes – that smirk on his face, his total dismissal of the nobility with narry a word. Hated Sparrow, but loved Jonathon Price so much in this scene. Just genius.

  35. ash,

    I prefer the look on the High Sparrow’s face right before he’s about to get torched with wildfire. A different episode, yes, but still the look I prefer.

  36. Jared,

    Well, as we learn later Lady Crane cut Bianca’s face making her not good for the stage any more. I am still wondering could it be a part on the contract -something like a line written in tiny tiny letters people tent to turn a blind eye when they sigh for fast credits. I guess we’ll learn the answer in S8.

  37. Jared: as Jaqen’s affection and the Waif’s hatred for Arya attest

    As always, great observations, Jared. Sorry for the delay, internet in the Frostfangs is fickle today.

    Interesting term “affection” as applied to Jaqen (in the Kindly Man role). Perhaps I applied too much Kindly Man to his reactions to Arya and not enough Jaqen but I thought he was “handling” her accordingly as part of the training. The Waif’s hatred I took for ultimate failure of the FM discipline (after many years of training), which is why the Kindly Man “threw her to the wolves,” so to speak.

    “A price was paid”.

    That was indeed an eerie statement to make. I enjoy your take on the matter but was it really an inter-family squabble that led to this contract? If so, perhaps LC’s discussion with injured Arya is the clue…LC has been quite vicious with others (men) before and maybe her carnal relations and subsequent stabs went too far, a price was paid. Perhaps there was an eye-for-an-eye deal made or maybe the other well-breasted, ambitious actress is a vindictive girl with rich parents?

    I didn’t buy it. I thought it was a test orchestrated by Jaqen/KM that pitted the Waif failure against a strong-willed Arya…both had attained skills but neither was FM material…leading to a convenient disposal of one while the other resumed her personal mission. Unbelievable stabbing aftermath aside, I believe Jaqen saw how the whole thing would play out…to include the blindness training. I wouldn’t put the cynicism associated with FM trainee disposal beyond the Kindly Man…but Jaqen most likely wanted Arya to “win” and leave.

  38. The Kindly Man did include the blindness part after she killed the runaway Crow instead of the assigned kill. But there was no beating. Instead she roamed the canals (Cat of the Canals) and learned to use her other senses to survive. She does get her sight back, but now I am having trouble remembering how….

  39. Hey Jared, if I ever come over the vastness of the Atlantic, I’ll just have to stop by and have a cup of coffee with you. Now that I think about it, I’ll have to include Wimsey, Dee, the good folk of WotW stationed over there, and a whole bunch of other people I enjoy bantering with on this great site. Hmmm…. maybe I should just hop over for the next Con of Thrones? Do any of you guys intend to come next year or the one after that?

  40. Mr Fixit,

    I really wanted to attend Con of Thrones this year, but work and life precluded that from happening. If there is another Con next year, I’d love to attend, if it’s at all feasible (of course, it’s hard to know this far out, especially with no date or location yet fixed). But if it works out, and you do decide to make the trip across the Not-So-Narrow Sea, we’ll have to coordinate some kind of meet up! Having a cup of coffee and talking Game of Thrones with some of the fine folks that we’ve gotten to know here at WOTW would be fantastic!

  41. As I rewatched the episode yesterday, I must say I liked Dany’s scene a bit more…

  42. ash: She does get her sight back, but now I am having trouble remembering how….

    She did a lot of training while blind as she wasn’t “banished” from the HoBaW at all during that period. She worked on her languages, lies game, poisons, and of course using her other senses. They sort of covered that once show!Jaqen let her come back, but it was a little thin and her “relationship” with the cat(*) was completely cut. She regained or was given her sight back by passing the Kindly Man’s tests(*).

    speaking of her warging of course. Seeing through the cat’s eyes helped her pass the KM’s tests and impress him.
  43. This is probably my least favourite episode of the season to date but us still an enjoyable and solid 7/10, there is nothing really wrong with it but The ending comes off a little cringey to me, can’t fault anything else in the episode though.

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