Season Six, Episode Six — “Blood of My Blood”

© Copyright 2016, Home Box Office. All Rights Reserved.

© Copyright 2016, Home Box Office. All Rights Reserved.

By Jarrod Jones. Dragons can be total flakes.

It was but two weeks ago that I stared, mouth agape, at Daenerys Targaryen’s ascension into Dothraki legend. As the khals of the world burned away, The Unburnt stepped forward, glorious, horrible and beautiful. And I waited, as the drums of war thundered and the portentous choir bellowed; as the citizens of Vaes Dothrak took the knee before their new queen I asked myself, Where is Dogon? It would have been one hell of a thing had Dany’s best boy flown overhead just before that week’s credits rolled, but alas — it was not to be.

No, it appears that Drogon opted for a less ostentatious entrance. It was a loud and very showy appearance, as most dragon entrances are, but it was decidedly far less dramatic than what my giddy heart longed for at the end of “Book of the Stranger”. Dany gave her speech and cemented onscreen what we had already presumed — that the Dothraki horde was hers, lock, stock and barrel.

Not a huge revelation, not even by half. And that it followed the ultimately stymying but no less underwhelming union of King Tommen and Lady Margaery under the banner of the High Sparrow in King’s Landing, it was made apparent that “Blood of My Blood” was designed to accomplish one thing — to ease our grief over last week’s devastating loss (and equally devastating reveal) of Hodor and his stout-hearted devotion to Bran. Many wondered how Meera Reed and the newly-minted Three-Eyed Raven would fare out in the open wilds armed with little more than quickly dwindling gumption and laughably unwieldy power.

That question was answered immediately in the opening moments of “Blood of My Blood”, as Game of Thrones theorists the world over slapped each other on their collective backs with an infuriatingly smug veneer — Benjen Stark has returned, not seen since he went beyond the Wall to find the series’ prologue’s most irritating Brother in Black, Ser Waymar Royce (who, you’ll recall, is dead as shit). You’ll note that the name “Coldhands” was never said aloud, but with Benjen’s dark hood, long cloaks and a whirling mace of fire (a hell of a thing to behold), the jury’s decidedly in.

Two more members of House Stark are united. Rickon is but a short ride South. (How he’s faring, well, that’s a matter for another week, apparently.) Now if Arya could put her obligations to the Faceless Men to bed, there’d be a strong chance to see a bonafide family reunion by the end of this season. Game of Thrones just keeps giving us more and more reasons to hope. Naturally, we would all do well to expect more emotional devastation next week.

WHAT WORKED: We met the Tarlys on Sunday night, with a lovely introduction to Mother and Sister in the promenade of Horn Hill, and then later, a hostile dinner with Father and Brother. Considering that Randyll Tarly knew his banished son was coming in advance (“I read your letter,” he says with a sneer), his abrupt hunting trip with his preferred son, Dickon, couldn’t be confused for anything but an act of emotional warfare. Sam’s very presence, coupled with his admittance that — oops — he just brought a Wildling girl into House Tarly, almost certainly paints the evening in a somber, foreboding hue. (The evening’s affair, saturated in low, red candlelight, definitely recalled a certain wedding not long ago, at least, for me.)

The Tarlys presence brings back some of the familial intrigue that has been sorely lacking in Game of Thrones of late, with Cersei Lannister cooling her heels while her family goes to seed (she was only too happy to see Jaime get tossed out of King’s Landing this week), and the Starks only just now finding strength in their House once more. And though I’m happy to see such inter-familial sparring again…

WHAT DIDN’T: …this week’s episode only used it to telegraph what’s to come. Look at my sword, Randyll told Sam and Gilly with roast boar between his teeth. It’s supposed to be yours, but I’m a chump and you’ll never have it. Cut to Sam swiping Randyll’s beloved Heartsbane from the Tarly’s dining hall. While it was nice to see Sam flex some agency over his shithead father, wouldn’t we have been right to expect Sam to stand up to his father well before this act of passive aggression? “Sam is more of a warrior than you’ll ever be,” Gilly said instead, standing up for the man wilting into his coveted bread bowl.

And speaking of strong women, Lady Margaery continues to be a crafty one. There can’t possibly be a single person in the Red Keep who actually buys that the Queen found her faith in the catacombs. That doesn’t appear to matter much however, as King Tommen, that cherubic little numbskull, has decided that the High Sparrow has “some really good ideas, you guys.” (Equally pathetic is his belief that Margaery actually wants him for him: “You’re the best person I know,” said Tommen. And then Margaery laughed, chilling my soul.)

Yes, the boy king’s ineptitude has always been open to exploitation, but isn’t that why Cersei still hangs around King’s Landing? For a mother so fiercely devoted to her children (and with said children dropping like lopped-off dandelions), the Queen Regent has been notably distant in Tommen’s recent conversion. Somehow she’s allowed her child to become a tool for the High Sparrow to use against the Realm, which isn’t adding up. (Unless Tommen’s hallelujah moment is somehow her doing, which I wouldn’t put past her considering the strategy that would be involved.) What the hell is Cersei up to?


Gilly: “Won’t he come for it?” Sam: “He can bloody well try.

BEST MOMENT: Sam takes what’s his. Even though this won’t end well for at least one member of Sam’s growing family, that Samwell Tarly finally decided to claim his birthright (deceitfully, perhaps) reminded us of how potent Sam and Gilly’s relationship actually is. The fallout will be enormous. (Maybe I’ll bite my tongue now.)

EPISODE’S MVP: Benjen Stark. I’ve been waiting for this moment for quite some time. It’s going to be a trip to see Benjen arrive to Castle Black for a game of catchup with his former Brothers in Black.

© Copyright 2016, Home Box Office. All Rights Reserved.

© Copyright 2016, Home Box Office. All Rights Reserved.


– Ah… Walder Frey. We haven’t been blessed with his presence since he betrayed Robb and Catelyn Stark at the Red Wedding. He still has a knack for making my skin crawl. Noted.

– Mace Tyrell got his big moment this week, strutting about on his horse in a well-fitting suit of clanking armor. His speech definitely conveyed the fire that is forever stoked within House Tyrell, though I can’t help but think it would have sounded better coming from Lady Olenna.

– The High Sparrow has yet to reveal his choice for Cersei’s trial by combat. Since we haven’t met our latest Brother Without Banners (Ian McShane, of Deadwood), I’m willing to hold onto the hope for CleganeBowl ’16. Time will tell.

– Not present for this week’s skirmish: Elaria, Bronn, Melisandre, Yara, Theon, Euron, Davos, Jon, Sansa, Ghost.

7 out of 10

Next: “The Broken Man”, soon.

Before: “The Door”, here.