'Game of Thrones' Finds Benjen Stark, Coldhands in 'Blood of My Blood'
In Season 6 episode 6, Jaime goes off to war, Arya leaves the Faceless Men, Benjen Stark and Walder Frey return.
Game of Thrones is filled with death, deception, depravity, the occasional act of decency, and dialogue acrobatics. Each week, we break them down. Let’s dive into Season 6 episode 6, “Blood of My Blood.”
The North Remembers
As we predicted, Hodor’s death cleared the way for the book character, Coldhands, to make his entrance in Bran Stark’s plot line. In the books, he is a mysterious, not-quite living cloaked figure who aids Bran, though his identity and motives are unresolved — while the show is making it clear that he’s Benjen Stark.
Benjen’s story of dying and being saved by The Children and dragonglass is intriguing, but just like the revelation that the series created the White Walkers, we don’t quite know what to do with it yet. We haven’t seen him since Season 1, but like all departed Starks, his memory lives on. Recall that he was used as bait to lure Jon to his death at the end of Season 5. His entrance, then, is a satisfying ta-dah, but we’ll have to see how his undead-state fits into the larger narrative.
Why do the Children save one random human man? And why does he know so much about the Three-eyed Raven? These questions will no doubt be answered in subsequent episodes, but for now, his place on the show remains a “ta-dah!” and nothing more. But if he crosses paths with Jon, perhaps he can finally enlighten him about his parentage.
The Lannisters Send Their Regards
A lot happened in King’s Landing this episode, but there’s really only one thing that matters: Jaime’s ridiculously awesome gallop up those steps. He might just give Charles Vane a run for his money in horse-game.
The other primary development, of course, is Jaime’s pivot to Riverrun and the shift of power in King’s Landing, largely instigated by Margaery Tyrell.
Margaery has always been the most fascinating female character besides Arya, Sansa, and Brienne. In many ways, she’s a more likable female Littlefinger. She’s constantly playing games and manipulating situations to her advantage. In her scene with Tommen, she sounds genuine when she says, “All the stories I told myself about who I was and why I did the things I did — there were so many lies in those stories.” But is she really endorsing the High Sparrow, or is she just reading the room and playing the Game of Thrones, always mindful of coming out on top? Natalie Dormer’s Mona Lisa Smile when Jaime and her family’s troops come to her rescue could be read either way. For her character’s sake, let’s hope she’s not truly a religious zealot now.
Dragons With Daenerys
The most significant part of Dany’s story this week is the mention of how she’ll definitely take Westeros super duper soon, if only she had some ships…..oh, if only we knew of a brother and sister pair sailing her way with a large fleet.
Daario raises a good point when he asks what she intends to do once she takes Westeros – as she’s hardly one to sit idly on an uncomfortable chair. When he says she’s really a conqueror, that’s an intriguing indication that perhaps the writers are more self-aware about her character than they seem to be and they’re playing the long game. If Daenerys ends up being the ultimate villain, her character arc will finally feel earned. Then again, this scene could have merely been another continuation of Daenerys The Mary Sue.
A Girl Goes to Braavos
Arya’s storyline gets the most movement in “Blood of My Blood.” After weeks of blindness and stick-hitting and plot-stagnation, she’s finally leaving the Faceless Men. Though she’s not afraid to get bloodthirsty, her nature won’t allow her to kill a woman who doesn’t deserve it. She truly is Ned Stark’s daughter, a fact that’s nicely emphasized by the Hamlet-esque play within the story.
She’s reunited with Needle and, after we get the chilling revelation that the Faceless Men intend to kill her (to be fair, Jaqen does tell the Waif to not let her suffer, but it’s still a pretty uncool move for A Man) — Arya is not going down without a fight.
Uneasy is the head that wears the crown
Sam’s plot is the most interesting it’s ever been, but the fact that he resolves to leave with Gilly by the end of the hour is rather baffling in terms of plot mechanics. After taking the time to introduce his family and establish their dynamic, we’re never going to see them again? The dinner scene does offer a nice Westerosi angle on racism and classism, but it’s otherwise too long of a time to spend with one-off characters. It did, however, introduce his family Valeriyan steel sword Heartsbane, which means Sam is likely not done clashing with White Walkers.
Spare coins from the Iron Bank
- Correct me if I’m wrong, but when we glimpse The Mad King in Bran’s vision, it’s the first time we’ve seen him depicted onscreen.
- More Game of Thrones and Harry Potter connections: Hi Cormac McLaggen as Sam’s brother!
- Sam’s sister to Gilly: “I think our father could learn a thing or two from your father.” Yeah….
- 6 episodes in and still an egregious lack of Bronn.
- When the actor playing Tywin Lannister says, “We all have ideas. Who’s anyone to judge my work? This is my profession, I know what I’m doing,” it seemed rather like a meta-commentary from the writers about how Game of Thrones is the ultimate Internet show, with everyone having ideas and theories about how the plot should go.
- Cersei mentions The Mountain standing in for her at her Trial By Combat. Cleganebowl is officially a go.
- Walder Frey and Edmure Tully are back, and we get our first reference to the Brotherhood Without Banners — one of the more intriguing Season 3 subplots that was dropped down the same rabbit hole as Gendry — since Season 3. In the words of one of my Inverse colleagues, what a time to be alive.