Episode 56 “Blood of My Blood”
Written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Directed by Jack Bender
I know it’s hard. We’re still dealing with Hodor’s (Kristian Nairn) tragic death, but we have to keep on keeping on. There is still hope that his death was not in vain.
Amongst the snow and cold, Meera (Ellie Kendrick) drags Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), still warged. We don’t know how far she has traversed but there is a hint of light from the sun, so we can assume that it is just dawn. This poor girl has been dragging the dead weight of a teen boy through piercing cold wind and freezing snow, all the while wights are chasing after them, and Bran remains enclosed in his warg. Images of all that has happened flicker through his mind at a rapid pace. There is one recurring image that passes through: The Mad King (David Rintoul) repeating over and over “Burn them all!” We see Ned’s (Sean Bean) death, Bran’s fall, The Night King (Vladimir ‘Furdo’ Furdik) turning an infant, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) killing the Mad King, and many others.
Meera collapses and holds Bran. He finally pulls out from the warg, and tells Meera ‘they have found us.’ All hope is lost as the wights close in snarling and screeching, their bones clacking as they clumsily speed toward Meera and Bran. Then at the last possible second a man on a horse charges in with a mace on fire and takes down the oncoming wights. Before any more can get to them, the mystery man grabs Bran and Meera, hauling them up with blue hands. Meera notices this, but decides that it is better to go with this man with the eerily similar coloration as the Night’s King than to be torn apart by wights. Who is he? How did he find them? Why is he blue like the White Walkers? My assumption is that he is Coldhands. The half White Walker, half man in the books that assisted Bran, Meera, and Hodor in finding the Three-Eyed Raven. This character is quite possibly one of the major keys to defeating the White Walkers, and I am holding on to the hope that this mystery rider is Coldhands come to help Bran in becoming the next Raven.
Farther South, Gilly (Hannah Murray), Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), and baby Sam make their way in a crimson and gold carriage with guards following along towards Horn Hill, Sam’s home. Gilly marvels at how green the land is, and Sam nervously begins talking about what kind trees there are. Gilly, being her blunt and assessing self, notices how nervous he is becoming and points this out to him. Sam explains how terrible of a man his father was to him. Gilly asks if Sam had told his father that she was a wildling and he attempts to evade the question, but she won’t let him and presses on. Sam attempts to explain to her why he couldn’t but it doesn’t help him. They arrive and Horn Hill looks like it could put Highgarden to shame. The place is massive, and it gives us a little insight into the life that Sam was brought up in.
Sam and Gilly are greeted by Sam’s mother Melissa (Samantha Spiro) and sister Talla (Rebecca Benson), who are overjoyed to see him. Not what I expected to happen. I figured Sam was not loved by any of his family, but thankfully that was not the case. Melissa turns to Gilly and little Sam and we all hold our breath as she assesses her new daughter-in-law and grandson. It’s obvious Gilly comes from a much wilder life style; she is covered in dirt, wearing long torn clothes, and her hair is in disarray. Melissa is able to see through all of the dirt and grime and smiles, welcoming in Gilly with open arms. She proudly holds her grandson, and when his name is revealed Melissa beams happily. Sam asks where his father and brother Dickon are. Melissa tells him they had gone hunting and would be back for dinner. Sam looks both relieved and disappointed.
Back in King’s Landing, Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) consults with the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) about Margaery (Natalie Dormer). His concern for his wife and the walk of atonement that she must make is apparent. The High Sparrow puts his ill thoughts at ease, telling him that Margaery has shown her devotion to the people and the faith, and that the people must see this. The High Sparrow takes Tommen to see her, and they embrace after being gone so long from each other. Tommen figures that she is upset by her upcoming punishment, but instead she tells him how the High Sparrow helped her see her ways as selfish and wrong, and that all of her kindness stemmed from the need to be seen and not the want to help. Tommen is confused, and so, too, are we. Margaery seems taken by the faith, and that is very unlike her. She is a clever woman, who knows how to play the game and at this point it’s hard to tell if this is all just an act so that she may get out unscathed or if she truly believes in the Seven. I personally hope it’s the first one because I couldn’t handle one of my favorite characters going religious crazy.
Sam walks amongst the halls of Horn Hill when Gilly approaches him freshly cleaned and wearing a gorgeous gown of gold and black. Sam is dumbfounded by the sight of her, with good reason. Who knew a Wildling could get so cleaned up? That evening the Tarly family and Gilly sit down to dinner in awkward silence. Randyll Tarly (James Faulkner) glowers at Sam from across the table, and Sam attempts to evade his father’s eye. The conversation turns to that of hunting and Sam mentions how well of a hunter Gilly is. A mistake slip of the tongue, and Randyll seems to be on to him, shaming him for being fat, and less than a man. Gilly refuses to sit by and allow him to tear down Sam and she defends him, telling Randyll that Sam killed a White Walker on the way down to Castle Black and that he was braver than all of them. Sam’s brother Dickon (Freddie Stroma) laughs it off, but she shuts him down, telling him she saw the wight with her own eyes. Randyll catches on that she had mention on the way down to Castle Black, and discovers that she is in fact a Wildling. His anger is tenfold and he tears Sam down even more than before pointing out the large sword above the mantle known as Heartsbane. It had been in the family for five hundred years, and always passed down to the first born son, and that Sam would never wield it. We just wish that Sam would rise up and tear his father down, but after suffering years of abuse from his father he keeps quiet. Randyll banishes Sam, but agrees to keep Gilly who will work in the kitchen, and little Sam will grow to be a man. In Gilly’s room, Sam makes his goodbyes and leaves, but after only a few seconds he storms back in and tells her they are leaving together, because they are meant to stay together. Sam grabs Heartsbane and heads off with his love and son in tow. Go Sam for sticking it to his father!
Far off in Braavos, Arya (Maisie Williams) stands amongst the crowd watching the play unfold, laughing and smiling as Joffrey dies on stage. Upon the end scene when Lady Crane (Essie Davis), who plays Cersei, gives her ending dialogue, Arya notices the actress Bianca (Eline Powell), who portrays Sansa, mouthing along to the lines. Arya quickly goes backstage and poisons the rum for Lady Crane. As she is departing, Lady Crane stops her and questions why she is there. Arya doesn’t say anything, and Lady Crane continues on, making the assumption that Arya is interested in being an actress like her. Arya gives her advice on her ending scene, and Lady Crane asks if Arya enjoys pretending to be other people. Arya departs without answering. Lady Crane knows she isn’t who she says she is, but that doesn’t bother her, and we all wonder how Arya is going to be able to allow this kind woman to die. Arya is in a hard place: we can tell she doesn’t want to kill Lady Crane as she is a kind and decent woman, and is only being killed out of jealousy but if she doesn’t fulfill her mission then she will be killed.
We wonder what Arya is going to do as Lady Crane attempts to discuss with Izembaro (Richard E. Grant) about changing her end scene but is torn down by everyone, telling her not to think, but just do what she is supposed to. The jealousy that everyone has for her is tangible. She looks so defeated and goes to drink the rum, when Arya comes out of nowhere and knocks the cup from her hand telling her to watch after Bianca, as she wants her dead. Waif (Faye Marsay) walks past a smug look on her face, and we all fear for Arya’s sake. Waif goes back to report to Jaqen (Tom Wlaschiha). He is disappointed but keeps to his promise that she will get to take out Arya. We can see that Jaqen has sympathy for Arya, for he asks Waif to not let her suffer.
Meanwhile, Arya knows that her life is at risk, and unearths her sword Needle, and we all get very excited that she has accepted herself for who she is, the badass girl from the north set out on a vengeance. She goes to bed that night with Needle by her side. I am looking forward to next episode for the massive fight that is about to happen between these two. We know Waif can take Arya, and has in fact taken her down many a time, but that has always been with staves. Arya may just have the upper hand this time.
In King’s Landing, it is Margaery’s walk of atonement day and Jaime rides with the Tyrell army, ready to battle and take down the High Sparrow. Margaery stands demurely on the steps of the Sept as the High Sparrow preaches to the people of her transgressions. He is interrupted by Jaime and orders him to release Margaery and Loras (Finn Jones). The High Sparrow refuses, telling him that it is not by his authority to do so, but announces that there will not be a walk of atonement as Margaery had joined the Faith of the Seven, and brought another amongst the fold. The doors behind him open and out walks Tommen surrounded by the King’s Guard. Our stomachs drop as we realize that Tommen and Margaery have made an alliance with the High Sparrow. My assumption was right, the High Sparrow wants nothing more than to have the power to rule Westeros, and he is going to be able to now. My only hope is that Margaery has some plan up her sleeve, and that this is all a ruse to help bring down the Faith. The biggest problem is that the people are on the side of the High Sparrow, he has been able to win them over, and turn them against the Royalty.
Tommen relieves Jaime of his position as Captain of the Guard and instead assigns him to assist Lord Walder Frey (David Bradley) to take back Riverrun. Jaime is furious and instead wishes to hire sellswords to take out the High Sparrow and his followers. Cersei (Lena Headey) calms him down and tells him that in due time they will get their son back, and they will take back their kingdom, but for now they have to play along and plan all the while. It’s nice to see that Cersei is back to her old self even though her and Jaime are back to being incestuous.
While Jaime and Cersei reunite in their old fashion, Walder Frey chastises his son for losing Riverrun to the Blackfish. He orders them to take it back, but they don’t have the men or the resources to do so. So it would appear that Petyr’s (Aidan Gillen) information to Sansa (Sophie Turner) had been correct after all. Walder’s sons don’t know how they are going to get Riverrun back, but Walder has Lord Edmure (Tobias Menzies) brought up from the dungeon and has his son’s use him as leverage.
Farther up north Bran and Meera sit in the snow as the mystery man strips a rabbit for food. They question who he was and how he came to find them. The man reveals that the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow) sent for him, but how could that be possible of the Raven was dead? Bran asks who he is, and the man pulls down his mask. It is his uncle Benjen (Joseph Mawle) neither dead nor really alive. His skin is blue and dead looking, but he remains fully intact. He reveals that he had been stabbed in the gut by an ice blade, and The Children found him and saved him by stabbing him in the chest with dragonglass. Benjen tells them that it is up to Bran to save them all from the White Walkers. How is he going to do that? All he is capable of is warging. He can’t simultaneously set them on fire, nor can he overpower them, as he is handicapped. I am very interested in what it is that he can do that no one else can.
Daenarys (Emilia Clarke) rides with her khalasar with Daario (Michiel Huisman) by her side. They converse of her plans to sail across the sea with her army and take back Westeros. Daario tells her that she was not meant to sit on throne, instead she is a conqueror, and she is very good at it. It makes you think that maybe she could be like The Mad King after all, but we hope not. I truly believe she is the rightful heir to the throne and that the Lannisters don’t have much time left, making everything they do inconsequential.
Amongst these musings, Daenarys notices something ahead of them and orders her army to wait while she rides ahead. The men grow nervous the longer they wait until a screech from a dragon startles them. Drogon sails above them to land at the head of the army. Daenerys sits upon his back and gives a rousing speech asking them all to be her bloodriders and help her sail across the sea to take back Westeros. They all cheer and wave their weapons about, and we wish we could jump through the screen to take up arms alongside of her.
While not much in the way of action happened this episode, there was a lot of plot development and it leaves one wondering what is to become of Westeros if Daenerys succeeds in taking over. What does Margaery have up her sleeve siding with the High Sparrow? Will Bran have what it takes to defeat the White Walkers before it’s too late?
Game of Thrones airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on HBO.