GoT S6E6 Recap — A Stark Revival
Hey! This is my recap for Season 6, Episode 6 of Game of Thrones, “Blood of my Blood”. Since this is quite late, I’m 99.9% sure you’ve already seen this episode. But if you haven’t, pause.
As you probably know at this point, I’m *attempting* to write week-by-week recaps of HBO’s Game of Thrones, along with my friend Kavi Balakumar. You can find all of my past recaps here. If you enjoy these, recommend this one at the bottom, share it, and follow me on Medium! Standard disclaimer: I have seen every episode of GoT, but have only read the first book in ASOIAF, “A Game of Thrones”, and will periodically posit theories from that perspective.
- A few friends of mine had told me that they felt the first few episodes of this season were rather slow. I disagreed and, as you’ve probably read here, argued that the show had been moving quicker than ever before in season 6. Strangely, here in episode 6, I thought we had more of a “setup” episode than any other this season.
- There are a couple of reasons why this episode left me wanting more, one likely being the lack of Tyrion/Varys (two of my favorite characters) and the lack of Jon/Sansa/Davos (who had seemed like the most important characters thus far in season 6).
- Two pretty significant characters return to the show in this episode: Walder and Uncle Benjen! We still have an APB out for Gendry, Nymeria (Arya’s direwolf), and Bronn. Come back soon!
North of the Wall — Bran, Meera, Undead Benjen
“One way or another, he will find his way to the world of men. When he does, you will be there waiting for him.” — Benjen “Coldhands” Stark
- After having realized that he was responsible for Hodor’s inability to speak and his eventual death with one fell swoop, I expected a powerful or emotional lamentation on Bran’s part that never came.
- Perhaps the most interesting scene of the episode comes right at the beginning, through Bran’s enigmatic hyper-cut vision. This is the second time I can remember the show giving us this type of a vision for Bran, and both times it created a lot of questions about what Bran is seeing from the past, present, or potentially even the future. Here is Bran’s vision from season 4:
- I remember speculating at that time about the meaning of a dragon shadow above King’s Landing, snow on the Iron Throne with a giant Seven-Pointed-Star behind it, and the perspective Bran is seeing things through.
- This episode’s vision was faster, and more revealing. Here’s a slowed down version of it to make it a bit easier to catch each frame:
- This isn’t everything, but my list of some of the key moments:
- Finally, we get to see the show’s version of Mad King Aerys, and hear his iconic last words, “burn them all!”, dismayingly repeated throughout the vision.
- In another seminal moment that predates the entire series, we see the stab in the back that gave the Kingslayer his nickname, while saving the city of King’s Landing.
- We see the executions of Ned, Catelyn, and Robb Stark.
- We see footage of White Walkers and their army of wights juxtaposed with Daenerys and her dragons, spliced with repeated footage of the pyromancers creating and storing wildfire around King’s Landing. This seems to be pointing towards a showdown at the end that gives resonance to the series name, A Song of Ice and Fire.
- We see young Ned asking “where’s my sister?” to the Targaryen Kingsguard members, directly followed by what seems to be his bloody hand and an incision on a woman’s side. The show continues to give us several R+L=J allusions, with this looking to be Lyanna Stark on her deathbed just following the battle sequence we saw in S6E3.
- The two most salient aspects of that vision, in my opinion, are 1) the wildfire explosion and 2) the bloody hand.
- The wildfire explosion is intriguing because if it is, in fact, a vision of the future, that suggests that we’re soon to see King’s Landing burnt to a crisp. Alternatively, this could be a hypothetical vision of what would have happened had Jaime not killed the Mad King, but it seems to be that this is an event that has yet to, but will, occur. More on this later in the recap.
- The bloody hand could potentially be an awesome revelation:
— POTENTIAL SPOILER THEORY (R+L=J) START—
While many have already speculated that Lyanna is on that deathbed giving birth and bleeding out, the incision that we see is a curveball. Is it possible that Jon’s birth was a C-section? Melisandre has been looking for the fulfillment of the “prince that was promised” prophecy, and believes Jon Snow to be the answer. Part of the actual full book prophecy is that the prince is “born amidst salt and smoke, underneath a bleeding star.” Back in the S6E3 recap, I went into a little detail on Dawn, Ser Arthur Dayne’s Valyrian steel sword that Ned took after defeating him outside the Tower of Joy. Dawn was forged from a fallen meteorite. If Ned performed a C-section on Lyanna using Dawn, Jon would literally have been born beneath a bleeding star. Furthermore, is it possible that Bran yelling “Father!” at Ned just before he goes into the tower reinforces Ned’s sense of duty to take care of this child? Lastly, in a theory many have seen rounding the interwebs over the past year+, could Lyanna have given birth to twins: Jon Snow and Meera Reed, with Ned and Howland agreeing to each take one upon leaving the Tower of Joy? If so, how did Meera get her father’s last name? Personally, I don’t buy the twins theory, but thought it’d be fun to share regardless. Still, all of this from literally ~0.5 seconds of footage.
— POTENTIAL SPOILER THEORY (R+L = J) END —
- Uncle Benjen is back! Bran and Meera were in dire need of help, and blood of Bran’s blood, undead “Coldhands” Uncle Benjen, shows up in the nick of time to save them with his flaming mace. We discover he was saved from death by the Children of the Forest using dragonglass, similar to how the White Walkers were created. I wonder if this means he’s vulnerable to it in the same way.
- I am trying my hardest to not think or ask questions about why Bran is drinking rabbit’s blood, because, you know, it’s gross.
Horn Hill — Sam Tarly, Dickon Tarly, Randyll Tarly, Gilly, Melessa Tarly, Talla Tarly
“He’s a greater warrior than either of you will ever be.” — Gilly
- Gilly looks out the window of their wagon in wonderment at the beauty and color of the Reach, and marvels at how “it’s so green”, and I thought again about that potentially impending wildfire explosion we just saw through Bran.
- Sam tries to coach up Gilly on the story they have to tell his parents, pretending that Little Sam is in fact blood of his blood and that Gilly is from south of the Wall. Gilly, of course, proceeds to blow their cover almost instantly upon meeting papa Randyll.
- On the other hand, Melessa and Talla, Sam’s mother and sister, are delightful, courteous to Gilly, and show us a glimpse of how Sam survived Horn Hill for as long as he did.
- As audience members we’ve taken for granted the veracity of the White Walker threat for the entirety of the show. At dinner, however, we get a glimpse of how ignorantly blissful some of these “summer children” are when Dickon reacts to the fact that Sam killed a White Walker the same way Wendy Wright reacts to evidence of evolution. I very much hope we see Dickon face to face with a wight or White Walker in the near future, only for Sam the Slayer to come to the rescue once again.
- After thinking about leaving Gilly and baby Sam in Horn Hill with his fam, Sam has a change of heart and decides to grab those two and the Valyrian Steel sword Heartsbane, and dip. I’m all about it.
Braavos — Arya Stark, Jaqen H’ghar, Lady Crane, The Waif
“Careful of that one. She wants you dead.” — Arya Stark
- Watching Arya’s enjoyment at the play-version of the Purple Wedding is cathartic and again I think Maisie Williams is phenomenal.
- Great camera work as they transition from the play outside to Arya backstage. As you hear the fake Tywin Lannister say “and now you’ve taken your father’s life” Arya walks past and stares at the fake Ned head on the ground which comes into focus.
- Lady Crane notices Arya and they have a fascinating conversation. Arya tells Lady Crane her name is “Mercy”, which she’ll soon show her. Arya also shares insight into why she doesn’t buy Cersei’s reaction to Joffrey’s death. Cersei would be more vengeful, she knows, after witnessing the death of her father and the immediate aftermath of the deaths of her mother and brother.
- “You have very expressive eyes Mercy. Wonderful eyebrows. Do you like pretending to be other people?” Dudes, take note. Compliment your girl on her eyebrows… it could save your life.
- The Waif witnesses Arya not only saving Lady Crane, but outing fake Sansa as the person who took out the hit. She’s still a Stark, moral core and all, and the Waif and Arya are gonna throw down at some point. Moreover, the Waif’s personal hatred of Arya has to be explored and explained sometime soon.
- Arya finally retrieves Needle from it’s hiding spot, and comfortable working in complete darkness, blows out the candle ready for her next chapter.
- Jaqen literally removing a face was gratuitous and unnecessary. Was anyone unaware of the process at this point? We got it showrunners, you can yada-yada that stuff!
The Twins — Walder Frey, Edmure Tully, Lothar Frey, Walder Rivers
“You lost it? It’s a castle, not a bloody sheep.” — Walder Frey
- Yes! As I’ve requested multiple times, Walder Frey has returned. Just in time for him to be absolutely wrecked at the hands of a Stark or Stark ally (preferably).
- We also get confirmation that Littlefinger was telling Sansa the truth, Blackfish has indeed retaken the castle at Riverrun with the remaining Tully forces.
- Walder Frey is Argus Filch and David Bradley is brilliant.
- This was setup but I’m excited for what’s coming here.
King’s Landing — Margaery Tyrell, Tommen Baratheon, Cersei Lannister, Jaime Lannister, High Sparrow, Mace Tyrell, Lady Olenna Tyrell
“Together we announce a new age of harmony. A holy alliance, between the crown, and the faith.” — The High Sparrow
- Schemes and plots continue to determine the fate of King’s Landing. At this point, however, it’s hard to see who truly has the upper hand in the long game between the High Sparrow, Margaery, and even Cersei. I definitely don’t believe that Margaery has become suddenly pious. One thing is certain, Tommen is worthless.
- Mace Tyrell is still a hilarious doofus.
- Check out the new Kingsguard armor, adorned with a nifty crown inside of a seven-pointed star signifying the new holy alliance. Quite similar to what Stannis did to his Baratheon sigil after allying with the Lord of Light.
- Jaime, after this show of force against the Faith Militant, is forced to give up his Kingsguard duties, in a scene eerily reminiscent to one in season 1 where Ser Barristan Selmy (RIP) was forced to do the same.
- Though he is furious and seeking revenge, Cersei convinces him to return to the head of the Lannister army and go retake the castle at Riverrun. In a strange role reversal, she’s the cool-headed twin here.
- Back to Bran’s vision of wildfire for a second. In season 2, it was Cersei who was having the pyromancers create the wildfire. There is some eery foreshadowing in that scene, from ~four years ago, about King’s Landing being burnt down the way we see in Bran’s vision. In the last few seasons, she has repeatedly mentioned burning cities to the ground. Could an increasingly desperate Cersei, having successfully gotten Jaime out of King’s Landing, eventually use the stockpiles of wildfire to indeed burn the city to the ground?
- I out loud giggled at Jaime quipping about Walder being 400 years old.
The Dothraki Sea — Daenerys Targaryen, Daario Naharis, Drogon, the Khalasar
“I will not choose three blood riders. I choose you all.” — Daenerys Targaryen
- Not much to say here, as we’ve seen Dany give a variant of this speech a half dozen times at this point. It is interesting to note however that this was almost exactly plagiarized from a speech Khal Drogo gave way back in season 1:
- She does mention how most Khals choose three blood riders, but she will choose them all. Dragon riders on the other hand? I’m still hoping for three of those.
- Drogon is enormous. Expect him to be significantly bigger than siblings Viserion/Rhaegal, much like Balerion the Black Dread was significantly bigger than his siblings, Meraxes and Vhagar.
- Before Dany departs to get Drogon, she asks Daario how many ships they’ll need for the Second Sons, Unsullied, and her Khalasar, and he says “a thousand ships, easy”. Which happens to be the exact number Euron told the Iron Islands to build him. No coincidence there *whistles*. Yara and Theon, though, certainly have a healthy head start if not quite the requisite number of ships.
- Jason Mamoa, the actor who played Khal Drogo, who hasn’t been on the show since 2011 is still clearly a fan of the show and from time to time posts straight up gold (h/t SC):
Lingering Thoughts / Questions / “Next On…”
- Since this is late, I’m gonna forgo this section and put everything in subsequent recaps.
Your blood rider,