Game of Thrones “Blood of my Blood”: The Five Best Things in This Week’s Episode
A slightly slower week for Game of Thrones this week compared to last, but there still was a lot to be excited about. Here are the five best things in this week’s episode “Blood of my Blood”:
When reading the books I always thought one thing was clearer above all others: Sam is George RR Martin in the world of Westeros. He is an overweight, bullied, book-smart character with undeniable, if unknown strength. I’ve always thought GRRM was putting himself into the world with the inclusion of Sam Tarly but there has been a flaw with this thought for quite some time: Sam hasn’t had all that much to do for a long time. Ever since he rescued Gilly and killed a White Walker he hasn’t done much, his arc mostly defined by reacting to what’s going on with the Nights Watch. Now he finally has his own story, independent from every other character on the show. He’s on my list this week for much the same reason that Jorah was on it last week. Game of Thrones has been settled for a long time now. The characters that are in Kings Landing haven’t rotated for a long time, as it is with the Night’s Watch, Meereen and Dorne. Even the characters that have switched locations such as Tyrion haven’t wildly altered the story there. Like Jorah before him, and the Iron Islands, Sam now offers a kind of wild card element to the show. He could pop up anywhere now that he has shunned his father’s reluctant and hated acceptance of Gilly into his home. He is also now empowered with one of very few swords in Westeros that can kill a White Walker. Samwell Tarly is not irrelevant. He has a part to play in Game of Thrones, and seeing as he might be the embodiment of GRRM on-screen, he might be a major player before all is said and done, and this week could be the starting point for such a rise.
Some may feel Jamie shouldn’t be on this list for one simple reason: he lost, and lost badly. In fact, his defeat was so telling because it never even came close to being a victory. He had lost long before he ever mounted his horse. Jamie is on this list because sometimes a defeat can be a healthy thing for a character. In this case, Jamie has finally been freed of the shackles of the Kingsguard, meaning he is free to leave Kings Landing and finally become the lead character in his own arc, something that has been a long time coming. Recently it has felt that all Jamie was doing was jumping in and out of other stories. His motivation had become to support Cersei and his bastard children, which was starting to sully his apparent redemption on the show. In the books once he starts to turn from his more wicked ways he stays a more consistent path, refusing to get caught up in the politics of Kings Landing. By keeping him in the capital for as long as they have on the show, the writers have effectively killed his character’s momentum. He might start to regain it now that he can be his own man again. Jamie lost this week but it might have been the greatest result his character has seen in a long time. Sometimes it certainly does help to lose.
NORTH OF THE WALL
The story North of The Wall is fast becoming the highlight of this season. This week we may have had a relatively middle-of-the-road showing from Bran but we still got some great highlights thanks to his visions. We also got a decent bit of Meera this week, not time-wise necessarily, but we did get to see her struggle to the point of exhaustion. For a show that has a lot of powerful women we rarely hear mention of Meera, a character who has risked everything in blind faith of the fact that Bran might be one day important. Unfortunately for Meera, last week she was over shadowed by the sacrifice of Hodor. This week she was unfortunately overshadowed again, by the arrival of Coldhands, a character that has been around for years in the books and existed long before Bran and co arrived at the Three-Eyed Raven’s cave. His arrival so late is clear for all to see as he is quickly revealed to be long-lost Benjen Stark, a fact that needed to be broached quickly in the show as your eyes can’t be fooled, while in the books they can play around the notion of a mystery identity. Though I’m not usually a fan of changes from the books this one makes a lot of sense to me. In the books Bran has Meera, Jojen, Coldhands and Hodor all with him when he reaches the Three-Eyed Raven (Crow in the books). This is a fairly strong party for Bran which would have made certain scenes in the show less dramatic as he had a group surrounding him that was more than capable of taking care of itself. It was seeming like the group North of The Wall was going to lose some of its magic following their recent departure. Thankfully, the arrival of Coldhands provides an interesting new layer to the group dynamic.
THE HIGH SPARROW
For every loser there must come a victor and this week that honour fell in the lap of The High Sparrow. The High Sparrow has always felt like a character that is due a big twist. He seems too cold and calculating for a character who is just trying to spread the word of The Seven. Their has to be something going on behind the scenes, some unspoken motivation, that is pushing him to disrupt the balance of power in Kings Landing. Whatever that plan may be, it took a huge step forward this week as The High Sparrow pulled King Tommen into his camp. Now his power has grown even stronger, pushing Jamie from Kings Landing instantly, and nullifying any notions of insurrection from the Tyrells. The most interesting part of this new twist is how complex the balance of power is within Kings Landing now. Jamie may be gone but Cersei still has her own plans to push for power. Tommen is showing newfound, though not rock solid, decision-making. Olenna Tyrell still has ideas for her family, while Maergery’s plans are still to be unveiled. The best part of this power play from The High Sparrow is the fact that it has resulted in Kings Landing becoming one of the least predictable stories on the show at the current time, and we all know that makes for some of the best storytelling Game of Thrones has seen.
It was thankfully another strong week for Arya on this week’s episode and one that has been a long time coming. Arya’s training with the Faceless Men at first looked like it would be a highlight of the show, a story arc featuring one of the most fun characters learning how to be a cool assassin so she can enact her revenge. What we got instead was a story about little victories against an annoying, petulant antagonist that lasted way longer than it should have and got boring quick. In fact the only times I’ve been excited by Arya’s story in Bravos was when it was looking like she was taking great strides toward ending her time there. Now she has well and truly left the home of the Faceless Men, Arya is finally Arya again and her story has finally become unpredictable. If I was a betting man I’d say Arya’s story takes her back to the acting troupe and sees her leaving Bravos with them. Or she could simply end up boarding a boat back to Westerns, though I think that would be a bit too soon for her. Whatever happens next does not matter right now though, as right now it’s all about the end of a story that overstayed its welcome. While in recent times Arya’s story has felt like one you were never excited to see return, it has now joined those in the North as one of the most interesting stories this season. Now if they could only get Daenerys to do something original for once, I might be able to get excited for her story as well.
If you like my review of this week’s Game of Thrones, why not check out my opinion of the Five Best Things in Last Week’s Episode “The Door” or follow me on twitter. Thanks.