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‘Game of Thrones’ review: ‘Blood of My Blood’

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[Warning: The night is dark and full of terrors, and while this review is great, it’s similarly full of spoilers.]

 

This week’s episode of “Game of Thrones” was definitely not as brutal or exciting as the last one, but it still gave us some great reveals and set up the dominoes to fall in the last four episodes of the season.

Catching up with Bran in the immediate aftermath of the White Walker attack, he is now left without his direwolf to protect him, Hodor to carry him, or the Three-Eyed Raven to teach him. He is still having visions as Meera tries to protect them both from the undead wights closing in, and it’s interesting to note these visions are the first time we ever see the Mad King on screen. I doubt an actor was chosen to play him for such little screen time, so I’m sure he will be seen in Bran’s visions again.

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Just as all looks lost for Bran and Meera, his uncle Benjen Stark appears for the first time since the first season to save the day. He reveals to Bran that he almost became a wight himself, but was saved by the Children of the Forest before he could fully turn, leaving him half living and half ice zombie. He also confirms that Bran is now the Three-Eyed Raven, and tells him he must learn to control his powers by the time the Night’s King and the White Walkers march on the wall.

This was awesome to learn, but we still don’t know how exactly Bran seeing and learning so much is supposed to help in the war to come, unless it’s his warging powers or ability to influence time that’s most important. His role is vital, we know that much, but I was surprised there was no mention of the mark the Night’s King gave him when he touched his arm last week. If he goes south of the Wall, does he enable the Walkers to bypass its enchantments?

In other Stark family shenanigans, Arya finally realized she didn’t want to become an identity-lacking assassin who kills for money. After watching the crude play about Joffrey’s death, she empathized with and saved the actress playing Cersei instead of killing her. She recovered Needle, her sword from Jon she hid last season, and prepared for the consequences she knows are coming because of her choice to abandon the Faceless Men.

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Even if Arya wins and kills the waif, who unsurprisingly volunteered to kill her, will the Faceless Men send someone else after her? It doesn’t seem like the type of organization to stop coming after you because you overcame just one of their assassins. I do think she’ll make it back to Westeros, but for what purpose no one can be sure.

In King’s Landing, what was supposed to be a fight between the High Sparrow’s band of fanatics and Jaime and his army of Tyrells was diffused by Tommen, who seems to have been completely brainwashed by the High Sparrow. The alliance between the Crown and the Faith is looking pretty formidable, especially since Margaery seems like she’s just pretending to be pious for more power. What this means, if Cersei loses her imminent trial-by-combat, is unclear, but I doubt Tommen will be cool with executing his mother.

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For taking up arms against the Faith, Jaime was released from the Kingsguard after serving since he was 16-years-old. He now heads to the Riverlands, where we know Sansa’s great uncle Brynden Tully, or the Blackfish, has taken back Riverrun from the Freys. Walder Frey’s return in this episode makes me hope for some Red Wedding revenge from the good guys soon, maybe thanks to Arya, but we did see that he still has Edmure Tully in chains.

Edmure Tully, Catelyn Stark’s brother, is the rightful lord of the Riverlands, and if Jaime has him as a prisoner, the Blackfish may have no choice but to surrender. I don’t see that happening though, especially with Brienne on the way to recruit the Tully army for Jon and Sansa’s cause. Whether the Blackfish’s forces will even have time to march on Winterfell is doubtful, but it does mean a Brienne and Jaime reunion.

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In our first introduction to Horn Hill and the rest of House Tarly, we are unsurprised to see Samwell’s dad being a huge ass to both Gilly and his son. Sam shot right back though by stealing Heartsbane, House Tarly’s ancestral Valyrian steel sword, and escaping with Gilly and her baby. If his plan is still to go to the Citadel and become a maester, having Gilly with him may be problematic. Hopefully Sam doesn’t disappear for a while before we see what his plans are.

The end of the episode, typically reserved for jaw-dropping moments, was another mostly pointless speech by Daenerys to inspire her troops. They’re already following her though, so this just seemed like an excuse to whip out the graphics budget and show how big Drogon has gotten.

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The two important bits here were the not-so-subtle reference to Daenerys’ need for ships, which the Greyjoys are conveniently headed her way with, and the willingness of the Dothraki to cross the sea for the first time in their history and invade Westeros. I really hope Daenerys isn’t reduced to just solving problems with fire because her character really is more interesting than that, but only time will tell. The White Walkers, at least, are a problem she can go ahead and solve with fire.

The verdict: Episode 6 was not as action-packed and intense as last week, but it was a necessary calm before the storm that the end of the season is sure to be. Benjen’s alive, Arya is herself once more, Bran has powers to control, and Jaime is on the road to a reunion with Brienne.

 

Reach News Editor Mohammed Kloub at arts@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @LessIsMoh

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